How to Turn Off a Hard-Wired Smoke Alarm

2018 Jun 25
Posted in:

Most of the time, homeowners ask this question when one of their smoke alarms is going off or making noise when there’s no smoke/fire.

The only way to completely “turn off” a smoke alarm that’s hard-wired into your home’s electrical system is to unplug the 110-volt wiring connector from the back of the detector and take out the battery inside the alarm.

But you should consider that a last-resort option. Completely turning off a smoke alarm defeats the purpose of having had it installed in the first place (no alarm = no protection from fire). Plus, an alarm that’s making noise is usually trying to warn you of a problem.

So what’s the problem with your noisy smoke alarm? Well, it all depends on whether:

  • Only one smoke alarm is making noise
  • More than one smoke alarm is making noise

We’ll explain how to check for the situations above and what you can do (instead of turning the alarm off) to stop the unit from going off.

 


Need a professional to inspect and repair/replace your hard-wired smoke alarm? Just contact us.


 

If a single smoke alarm is chirping…

...check for:

  • Dead or dying batteries

If the batteries in a single alarm are low you’ll hear consistent high-pitched chirping from that alarm.

The bad news? The unit won’t stop chirping until you replace the batteries.

Depending on the type of battery you use, you’ll probably need to replace the batteries in your hard-wired smoke alarm every 8 to 12 months. Our advice is to use traditional, regular alkaline (or lithium) batteries for your smoke alarms instead of rechargeable batteries. Traditional batteries lose power at a much slower rate than rechargeable batteries so it makes sense to use them in low-draw devices that aren’t used often.

  • A unit that’s nearing the end of its lifespan

Most hard-wired smoke detectors last anywhere from 8 to 10 years.

That said, most hard-wired models have an “end-of-life” feature where the unit will chirp every 30 seconds until the unit is replaced.

  • Whether the unit was put on a temporary “hush” mode

Most hard-wired smoke alarms have a “hush” feature that allows you to temporarily disable the alarm. When the unit is in the hush mode, it will still chirp every 30–40 seconds but won’t go off on full alarm mode.

The hush feature is a 7 to 8-minute “grace” period where the unit won’t alarm even if it detects the presence of smoke. So, say you’re cooking and know that the meal will produce a lot of smoke. You would simply press the hush option (the button typically right beside the TEST button) and press the button again once you’re done cooking and the smoke has disappeared.

If none of the above situations apply, you probably have a malfunctioning smoke alarm and will need a professional to diagnose it.

 

If more than one smoke alarm is making noise…

...you most likely need a professional to diagnose the issue.

Why? Well, more than one smoke alarm going off means there’s faulty electrical wiring somewhere. You see, if you have hard-wired smoke alarms in your home, they all live on the same circuit. So when one experiences electrical issues and goes off as a result, the rest of the alarms down the line will also go off.

Some electrical issues that might cause more than one smoke alarm to either alarm or chirp include:

  • An overloaded circuit
  • A short circuit
  • Ground fault
  • A bad circuit breaker
  • Loose connections

Unfortunately, if you have any of these electrical issues you’ll need a professional to locate the source of the problem and fix it. Note: Don’t attempt to fix any electrical wiring problems yourself unless you are familiar with residential electrical systems as this can result in a severe (and possibly fatal) electrical shock.

 

Still not sure why your hard-wired smoke alarm is chirping/going off?

We can help.
Just contact us