Smoke Detectors and 2:00 AM

Smoke Detectors. I think they absolutely positively must be programmed by the manufacturers to have their batteries drain at night. In the middle of the night preferably.

We have 7 smoke detectors in our house. And every single time a battery has drained completely, it’s right when we are ready to turn out the lights at night, or in the middle of the night. 

We moved to the house where we now live 4 years ago.  We noticed the smoke alarms. They were pointed out during our housing inspection.  But there was one they didn’t point out to us. My guess is they forgot it. Out of sight, out of mind.  And this one was out of sight.

I’m not talking about the smoke detectors that are in the bedrooms, or the one at the top of the stairs, where you have to use a super long ladder, leaned against the wall to reach it. Where you have to say your prayers before even stepping on the first ladder rung.  No, that one we could handle, even though it did start chirping at 2:00 am.

Did any of you see the Modern Family television show where Phil can’t find the smoke detector that is chirping? He finally destroys all of the detectors in the house, out of frustration thinking he’s won the battle, but then hears another chirp? That was us the other night – sort of. We didn’t destroy the smoke detectors, but we just couldn’t find where the chirp was coming from, and it just kept chirping.

Was it coming from the smoke detector in our gym? No, close, but not there. It had to be the TV room then. Nope. We checked the adjacent laundry room but there wasn’t a smoke detector in there at all, so back to the gym where the noise seemed to be the loudest.  In the middle of the night, noise seems to bounce off walls. So maybe it actually was coming from the other side of the house? No, that wasn’t the answer either.

You know that little chirp only lasts a few seconds, making it even harder to find an elusive sound.

But we did eventually find where the chirp was coming from. Okay, I’ll give my husband the credit here. HE found it. In the attic. IN THE ATTIC.  Whoever heard of a smoke detector in the attic?  Obviously, not us.

I’m not going up into the attic to get a picture of it for this post. But if I had thought of it, I might have whipped it out at 2:00 am.

This is just an FYI for you all, in case this happens to you. Don’t forget to check the attic!



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments (12)

  1. Pam K

    A similar thing happened to my in-laws … although I think it was the carbon monoxide alarm. They’d hear a beeping every so often & it was loudest in the (very short) hallway. My husband couldn’t figure out where it was coming from … & although it wasn’t the fire alarm; it just kept beeping! They thought something was wrong with the thermostat in the hallway … He called me over (we live next door) and we searched the adjacent rooms. Like yours, they don’t beep constantly – just every so often. It turns out that he had placed one of the alarms underneath the cabinets that hang on the wall at the end of the hallway. (There is another set of cabinets that sit on the floor) … the cabinet doors hang down a bit lower than the bottom shelf, so my husband had placed the alarm there. I’m on the short side, so I just happened to look under the cabinet & there it was. He had forgotten that he had put it there over a year ago!

    I never would think of checking the attic!! I don’t think we have any in there …

    March 27, 2018 at 7:31 am
    • Karen

      Oh, wow! Yes, you do know what I was talking about. Who would have thought to look under a cabinet like that! Good job!!! 😉

      March 27, 2018 at 7:52 am
  2. Cathy L Vernon

    LOL….that happened to us a couple of years ago. Ours was in the basement. We had no idea there was even one in the dark, damp, dungy basement! We live in an older home, and the basement is only used for storage. I avoid going down there at all costs! Who knows what is luking. 🙂

    March 27, 2018 at 8:20 am
    • Karen

      LOL! I’m soooo glad I am not the only one who had had this experience. What is lurking indeed! 😉 (Well a smoke detector for sure, we know that now!)

      March 27, 2018 at 10:16 am
  3. Jane Maurice

    Actually attic is probably a good idea. I have often heard of house fires that started as a smolder, then ran through the attic to whole house. So thankful it was only a battery alarm… Too bad they weren’t hard-wired in, huh.!

    March 27, 2018 at 1:31 pm
    • Karen

      That’s very true, Jane! I should count it a blessing (now that I know where it is anyway!)

      March 27, 2018 at 2:22 pm
      • Brew

        There is likely a furnace in your attic. So you need a smoke detector there. Most detectors are hard-wired. The battery is just for backup.

        March 27, 2018 at 7:28 pm
        • Karen

          Thanks for you input, Brew. This is good to know.

          March 28, 2018 at 8:15 am
  4. Think my daughter’s story tops them all. Soon after they moved in a smoke detector started chirping. They finally isolated the sound to a corner of the kids playroom, but no smoke detector there. Pushed a ceiling panel aside and realized it had been mounted inside the ceiling.

    March 27, 2018 at 2:13 pm
    • Karen

      Did they have an attic? Yeah, crazy places!!!

      March 27, 2018 at 2:22 pm
  5. Kathi Dax

    Their beeps are so illusive! And when you have a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector in the same room, it’s hard to tell where the beep is coming from. We had gotten to a motel late one evening, had gotten ready for bed, and the smoke detector started beeping. Called the front desk, they came and assessed the problem, found they had no replacement battery on hand! Honestly, I forget what happened but they got one from somewhere!

    March 31, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    • Karen

      LOL! I’ll bet you were quite “awake” after that experience. But definitely glad they fixed it for you!

      April 2, 2018 at 8:11 am
Leave your thought here