I have 5 interconnected 110V smoke alarms, 5 years old (Firex, if that makes
any difference). At least one is randomly (but very infrequently) going off
for a short period ranging from a fraction of a second to one or two
seconds. I have only observed it at night (sleeping, naturally) but that is
not too surprising given that during the day we are in the house less. This
happened for the first time a couple of years ago and then twice in the last
two days. Of course, all of the alarms go off so it is not possible to
identify one of them. Obviously I could disable the interconnects but this
will likely not help since the alarm period is so brief and infrequent, at
least up to now.
Have other people had this experience?
Is Firex a known piece of shit?
Right now I am probably going to just replace all 5 alarms. I know that
power glitches can cause this sort of behavior, but the only times I have
noticed it in association with glitches, there was a definite blackout.
Light-dimming and blinking episodes have not previously caused any trouble,
and the current crop of alarms was not associated with any visible glitch.
I am going to guess that you have backup batteries and one or more of
them is going out. Time to replace them. I suggest also getting a can of
compressed air and blowing them all out to get rid of any spider webs and
dust that is sure to be there.
I would guess you have a spider or spider web in one of the
units (or more than one unit). Just blowing with compressed
gas may not work. I had to completely disassemble my built
in unit to get rid of the web filament. I don't know about
your particular brand but 5 years isn't much. My built in
smoke alarm is 25 years old. I can understand
interconnected units if you have a very large house, but it
doesn't make any sense unless you have at least 5,000 square
feet and then you might want something a bit more
If your built in system gives you a lot of trouble, just
replace it with battery operated ones (5 units should cost
less than $50). If you switch to battery operated ones,
forget changing the batteries every time daylight time
switches on and off or a specific date each year. I think
that's promoted by the battery manufactures. My 9 volt
alkaline batteries usually last about 2 1/2 years but the
damn thing tell you when the batteries need to be changed.
Well, I was afraid that might be the case someplaces, but
the problem with interconnected alarms is you don't know
which detector set it off, so you don't know where the
smoke/fire might be and could be critical to your evacuation
route. It makes my head hurt to think of the way simple
things get screwed up. The obvious solution, if they decide
to wire them together (which is a dumb idea), is to have a
different signal (frequency or multiple blasts) key to each
detector so you would know which one did the detecting.
If you have the type I have (based on light diffusion by
smoke), just blowing it may not solve a spider web problem
because the web (or spider) could be in the tunnel with the
detector and sealed which would just blow the web/spider
back into that tunnel and not out of the dectector.
You could locate the detector by just wiring around a
different one for a night or two and when you find a silent
night you would find which detector was having a problem.
Then, just replace that unit.
Good luck. Personally I would do what I want makes the most
sense to be safe, regardless of laws, and then change back
to whatever was required when I sold the house.
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