WiringAt Homerewire we know how important having a smoke detector is. Particularly one that can detect a fire quickly enough to give you appropriate time to safely remove yourself form the building. However smoke detectors can be a nuisance if they go off without any smoke present in the home.

So why are smoke detectors beeping or chirping without reason?

There could be a few causes which make your smoke detector go off, beep or chirp when smoke is not present on the premises.

Check the batteries

If you have smoke alarms powered by user-replaceable batteries then these can run out and often the alarm will make a sound to indicate that they are running low.

If the alarm keeps chirping after you change the batteries, make sure they are installed correctly. You may need to reset the alarm by holding down the test button, which clears the battery failure from it’s memory.

Dust and debris

Smoke detectors should be cleaned regularly to remove dust & debris from inside the alarm. Smoke alarms are sensitive electronic devices and the sensors will give false alarms when contaminants are present.

Clean your smoke detectors every three months. Remove it from the mounting bracket and gently use a vacuum cleaner with the soft brush attachment. Alternatively use a compressed air vacuum or blow air through the openings around the perimeter. Never allow paint or solvent cleaning materials to enter your alarm. After cleaning re-install the alarm and test it by pressing the test button.


Smoke Detectors are particle-sensing devices. Humidity, steam and condensation can cause false alarms.

When there is condensation in the surrounding atmosphere, the alarm will set off. Condensation (water vapour) is formed when it is very cold outside or a door adjacent to a heated area is left open. Steam is formed in the bathroom or kitchen, therefore do not install smoke alarms in or too close to those areas.

Location, location, location

If smoke detectors are placed too close to fuel burning appliances, they can give false alarms due to the combustion particles produced. Install smoke detectors at least 6 metres from fuel burning appliances and 3 metres from high humidity areas. If that isn’t possible, you should fit them as far as possible.

End of life

Alarms are designed to last for around ten years and if the alarm is significantly older than this, the electronics inside the alarm may become faulty.

Usually, smoke detectors will give you an intermittent beep when they reach their end of life but you should always check the date of manufacturing on the back of the unit and replace it if it is older than 10 years.

In cases of nuisance beeping or false alarms do not disconnect your alarm or leave the alarm without batteries fitted. This would leave you unprotected and you would not receive any warning in the case of a fire.

Finally, if you’re looking for a smoke detector that will never beep, chime or go off without real cause, something reliable (with all the traditional methods for backup), then a hard wired smoke detector may be required. Get in touch with Homerewire for more information on what’s involved and costs incurred.