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Frank Kurz
Frank Kurz, Fire Alarm Service
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 141
Experience:  30 years servicing fire alarm and life safety systems
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My electric smoke detector beeps at every 30 seconds. It started

Resolved Question:

My electric smoke detector beeps at every 30 seconds. It started about one hour ago. I have no instruction manual. Since it is an electric smoke detector, I cannot remove the battery to make the beep stops. What do I do? Should I call an electrician tomorrow morning? Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Fire Alarm
Expert:  Frank Kurz replied 2 years ago.

Frank Kurz :

Hello. Would you care to join me in a chat?

Frank Kurz :

You have, unfortunately, not provided me with a model number or make of the detector. I'm going to give you some instructions which should help to stop the problem. You will have to remove the detector from its base. To do so, you'll have to twist it in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction (you'll know almost at once which way is the right way because it will only move in one direction). Once you've got it free of the base, gently pull it away to reveal the wiring harness. The plug on the back has tabs on either side that you have to squeeze together while pulling in order to remove it. Once the detector is free of the plug, you should be able to open the battery compartment. Remove the battery. Leave the unit UNPOWERED for five minutes. While you're waiting is a good time to vacuum out the detector. Use the soft brush attachment and thoroughly clean all around it. At the end of the five minutes, push and hold the test button for thirty seconds. This will help to ensure that the battery charging circuit is completely de-energized. Release the button. Insert a new high quality alkaline battery (Energizer or Duracell). Please observe the correct polarity on the inside of the compartment. Close the cover (you may have to depress the red "finger" while inserting the battery (this is designed to ensure you can't close the cover without putting in a new battery). Close the cover. Push and hold the test button until the unit responds. This will ensure it's working correctly on battery backup. If it doesn't respond, open the battery cover and make sure that the battery terminals are in contact with the two metal tabs inside and that you've positioned the battery correctly. If the unit passes this test, you may reconnect the unit's power and relocate it on its base. The beeping should stop. If it doesn't and the detector you're working with happens to be a combination carbon monoxide/smoke alarm, then check to see that the date stamp on the back reads 2006 or more. If it's less, then chances are what you're hearing is the "end of life" alert that the manufacturer builds in. You'll have to remove it from power and discard it. Purchase a new unit from Lowes, Home Depot, Walllmart, or Target. If it is a combo unit, I would recommend you purchase the Kidde COPE-i. Please ensure that the other detectors in your home are Kidde units. Please provide the model numbers and I will ensure that they're compatible with the new unit. If you have any questions, or require further assistance with this question, please contact me on my toll free line (in North America) at 1(NNN) NNN-NNNN I want to ensure your JustAnswer experience is the best that it can be!

Customer:

The smoke detector is a kidde.

Customer:

Once you've got it free of the base, gently pull it away to reveal the wiring harness. The plug on the back has tabs on either side that you have to squeeze together while pulling in order to remove it.

Customer:

Once you've got it free of the base, gently pull it away to reveal the wiring harness. The plug on the back has tabs on either side that you have to squeeze together while pulling in order to remove it. I do not understand. Should I pull on something that is on the smoke detector or in the ceiling?

Customer:

hello

Frank Kurz :

Hi. The Kidde detector comes in two parts. One is the detector unit and the other is the "base" which holds it to the ceiling.

Frank Kurz :

If the unit is hardwired it will have a wiring harness.

Customer:

I was able to remove the detector from the base but don't know what to pull out. I am afraid to be electrocuted if I touch something I am not supposed to touch.

Customer:

I don't know what a wiring harness is

Frank Kurz :

You can't be electrocuted. The unit is designed to be removed with the power "on". When you removed the detector, do you see any wires at the back?

Customer:

there are wires in the smoke detector and it also goes in the ceiling

Frank Kurz :

On Kidde smokes that are "AC" powered, there will be three wires on the back, a black, red, and white wire.

Customer:

I will go check the colours

Frank Kurz :

If there is no wire, then your detector is battery operated, and all you have to do is change them.

Frank Kurz :

(The batteries, that is).

Customer:

yes there are 3 wires black, red and white

Customer:

it is an electric smoke detector installled by the house builder

Frank Kurz :

The wires terminate in a plug on the detector. There are two tabs on it you have to squeeze together while pulling on the plug. The unit will disconnect.

Customer:

it is 7 years old

Frank Kurz :

Ah.

Frank Kurz :

Is it a combination unit?

Customer:

I don't know

Customer:

what is a combination unit?

Frank Kurz :

Unplug the unit (as I have instructed), and tell me what you see on the back for a model number.

Customer:

I don't know where to find the 2 tabs either, nothing moves on the detector

Customer:

I am unable to unplug it

Frank Kurz :

They'll be on either side of the plug that's right at the back of the unit.

Customer:

I don't know where to find 2 tabs on the detector

Frank Kurz :

They're on the wiring harness.

Customer:

on the base?

Frank Kurz :

It might be easier for you to call me.

Frank Kurz :

Not on the base. On the detector.

Customer:

the tabs, is it something that moves?

Customer:

I tried to pull but nothing can be pulled

Frank Kurz :

The three wires are connected to the detector through a plug. The plug on the detector has tabs on either side.

Customer:

it is connected to a round circle where the wires are in

Customer:

should I pull on the circle?

Frank Kurz :

Yes.

Customer:

I just pull on the circle?

Frank Kurz :

There should be a couple of tabs on either side where the wires are moulded into the circle.

Frank Kurz :

If there aren't any tabs, then make sure you pull on the plastic part that the wires are coming through, and not on the wires themselves.

Frank Kurz :

Don't pull on the wires directly. The "circle" is the plug.

Customer:

ok, there are no tabs so I guess I will try to pull on the circle

Customer:

I hope I won't brake it

Frank Kurz :

You should have to pull very hard.

Frank Kurz :

You shouldn't have to pull very hard.

Customer:

I got it

Customer:

was hard to pull

Frank Kurz :

Great. Tell me what it says on the back.

Customer:

smoke and carbone monoxyde alarm

Customer:

would it be possible that is is beeping because there is monoxyed carbone?

Frank Kurz :

At seven years, the "end of life" alert sounds. This is what you're hearing. Remove the battery and discard the unit. It is no longer functional. Pick yourself up a Kidde COPE-i at one of the stores I suggested. It should use the same plug-in. If not, you'll have to change the harness (if you're unsure of yourself, call an electrician for this part).

Customer:

where is the battery?

Frank Kurz :

Depending on the model, this may be accessible through either the front of the unit or the back. It's a small compartment with a small access door.

Frank Kurz :

If you can't find it, take it out your garbage can (outside). The beeping won't bother you there. :-)

Customer:

it is not beeping anymore

Frank Kurz :

It may not have a battery, then. Either way, it's no good if it's reached it's seventh year.

Customer:

I could take it to the store to compare the plugs

Customer:

I have 2 other smoke detector the same type in the house. One on each floor

Customer:

Should I replace them now?

Frank Kurz :

Kidde hasn't changed their plugs. When the other units start to beep you'll have to go through the same exercise. I'm of the opinion that if it ain't broke, don't fix it until it is. However, if you happen to get a "deal" at the store if you buy three, then go for it. :-)

Frank Kurz :

Please make sure you write down my number 1(NNN) NNN-NNNNfor future reference on this issue. Feel free to call anytime!

Customer:

where can I see the model number?

Frank Kurz :

It should be on the back of the detector.

Customer:

I emailed myself the first message you sent me so I have the phone number there

Customer:

I will bring the detector to the store.

Customer:

there is a date: december 13, 2004

Frank Kurz :

You should see if the other detectors in your house are the same type (combination units). If they're just straight smoke alarms, then you won't have to replace them. All the Kidde units are compatible with each other so you shouldn't have a problem if you buy the COPE-i.

Customer:

ok

Frank Kurz :

Please remember to "accept" this answer. And feel free to call anytime if you need more help.

Customer:

ok

Customer:

one last question: the other smoke detectors are also kidde but they look different than this one so they are probably different

Customer:

does it make a difference when I buy a new smoke detector?

Frank Kurz :

Chances are they're just regular smoke alarms. In about three years I would recommend you replace them (NFPA suggests you replace your smoke alarms every 10 years). I would suggest a good replacement would be the Kidde 12040 (this is a photo-electric smoke alarm that is much better suited to detecting the kind of fire you would encounter in a home). It's also less prone to false alarms.

Frank Kurz :

All the Kidde detectors should be compatible with each other.

Customer:

thank you

Frank Kurz :

You're most welcome!

Customer:

I am just going to email this conversation to myself for future reference then I will press the accept button

Frank Kurz :

Not a problem. Have a great evening!

Frank Kurz, Fire Alarm Service
Category: Fire Alarm
Satisfied Customers: 141
Experience: 30 years servicing fire alarm and life safety systems
Frank Kurz and other Fire Alarm Specialists are ready to help you

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