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How to Disable a Smoke Alarm

By Hope Charlotte |

Beeping is among the sounds you are likely to hear from a smoke detector. However, the loud sound with a very high pitch is the detector's alarm. When you hear this loud sound of the smoke alarm, there is likely a fire in the house. In some instances, though, fire may not be the cause of alarm.

There are a number of reasons and conditions that cause this, but most users are not sure how to turn off the fire alarm. In most cases, battery problems are a common cause, and there are procedures to stop the beeping. Below is a detailed guide and steps on how to go about the same.

How to Turn Off Your Smoke Detector

Below is an outline and steps of how to turn off your smoke detectors. This also applies to stopping your smoke alarms from chirping.

1. Standalone (DC) Model

  • Remove the batteries
  • Press and hold briefly the hush button until it stops beeping, that's approximately 10-15 seconds.
  • Install new batteries, which will initiate a brief beep to indicate the detector is functioning normally.

2. Hardwired (AC) Model

  • Put off the circuit breaker that controls the alarm's circuit, or remove it from the connection.
  • Remove the batteries
  • Press-hold the silence button for about 20 seconds or until the alarm stops.
  • Install new batteries, and reconnect it to the circuit, and switch on the circuit breaker

3. Try Resetting the Fire Alarm

Below are some approaches you should try in resetting your alarm. The old tricks still work, and you should try all of them before you think of replacing your detector or trying a different model.

  • Use your circuit breaker to stop current flow to your detector
  • Disconnect and detach the smoke alarm from its bracket before you disassemble it
  • In case it's a battery-powered detector, remove the battery.
  • Press-hold the test button without the battery in place for about 20 seconds
  • Return the battery and reconnect it to the power source
  • Using your circuit breaker restore the detector's power supply
  • Return your detector to the mounting bracket

Once the detector is back in place, it should beep to confirm it's working well, otherwise replace the batteries if the false alarm doesn't stop.

4. Replace the Batteries

If the latter approach didn't work, try replacing your smoke detector battery. Some detectors will require a change of batteries semiannually. Any period longer than that could be the reason for the nuisance alarms.

While replacing the battery, be keen to place the new battery, as was the old one.  It should also be of the same voltage. If you do any of the two differently, you will not have solved the problem.

5. Dust your Smoke Alarm

When the cause of your chirping alarm is not the battery, and you have ruled this out by trying it in the absence of the battery, dust could be the cause. Ensure there is no dust remaining in the chambers by using a vacuum cleaner or blower.

Cobwebs and insects may also be the cause and at all times ensure you get rid of them.

6. Try Testing the Silent Button

You can try press holding the test button with and without the battery present. Doing so will give you a clear indication of what is causing the nuisance alarm. However, it's important to note the test button could be accidentally pressed, and the alarm may keep beeping from time to time.

If this approach doesn't yield the desired results, you can try the other options of detaching and testing it without its battery.

7. Get a New Fire Alarm

A smoke alarm never lasts forever.  It also has expiry dates, and when this time comes, the whole unit has to be replaced. This is normally after ten years. If you have tried all the above with no success to silence your smoke alarm, then it's time for replacement has come.

How to Deal with False Alarms

Beeping sounds from a smoke detector and noise from a false alarm are distinctly different. Beeping from the smoke alarm can be annoying, but the smoke detectors false alarm are a nuisance, and they require immediate action. The red buttons on detectors are purposely meant to stop the nuisance alarms.

Below are some reasons why you deal with false alarms from time to time.

  • Shower steam and combustion particles from the kitchen due to the proximity of the detector.
  • The detector is too close to the vent.
  • Sudden and significant temperature variations in the environment
  • Dusty air


1. What to Do When Smoke Alarm Keeps Beeping?

Standalone smoke alarms: When dealing with a standalone detector, briefly press the silence or test button if the smoke causing the nuisance alarm is not an emergency. After silencing the smoke alarm, the red light will flash after every 5 seconds to indicate it's in silence mode. You can either press the silence button again or leave it for 9 minutes to allow it automatically reset to normal function.

Hardwired smoke alarms: For this type of detector, remove it from the mounting bracket and disconnect its power cable. After which, you can press and hold the test button for at least 15 seconds; it will sound briefly before it goes to silence mode.

2. How Often Should I Change the Batteries on My Smoke Detector?

The common cause of nuisance alarms in most detectors is old batteries. This is the case whether it's a standalone detector or the hardwired type. Due to the decreased power levels, you will realize alarms after every few minutes, which normally indict the need for replacement. In some states, the law requires battery-powered detectors to last a decade, and when they sound alarms, the whole detector has to be replaced with a new one.

3. My fire alarm beeps when I cook, what should I do?

It's not advisable to remove the battery of your smoke detector while you cook. Removing the battery is not an option despite the fact that the steam from cooking appliances or showers are cause the of nuisance alarms. Below are the options you have in such cases.

  • Press the hush button
  • Open the door or window
  • Clear the air using a towel
  • Relocate the detector according to manufacturer guidelines

Removing the batteries is a fatal mistake since you may not remember to return them. You are welcome to add other tips on how to deal with nuisance detectors in the comments section.

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