Home » Home Safety » Fire Alarm Keeps Going Off? Here’s What To Do

Fire Alarm Keeps Going Off? Here’s What To Do

A fire alarm going off in the middle of the night is annoying, to say the least. But when a fire alarm keeps beeping, don’t ignore it—even if you suspect a false alarm.

Find out everything to know about fire alarms, including how to turn off smoke alarms that keep going off, and how to check and replace a fire alarm battery.

Why Does Fire Alarm Keep Going Off for No Reason?

There’s a few possibilities as to why a fire alarm repeatedly activates, and if it keeps beeping, it requires attention. Common reasons a fire alarms keeps going off are:

  • Dead or dying batteries.
  • Poor placement, like in kitchens, bathrooms or garages.
  • Interference from airborne chemical compounds, like those released from wet paint.
  • Accumulation of dust and insects inside the alarm.
  • Excessively high humidity.

Keep getting false alarms, but not sure why? Jump below for an in-depth exploration of the causes behind false alarms.

How to Turn Off Fire Alarms – 5 Ways

If there’s clearly no smoke, a smoke detector chirping or flashing red is a sign of a false alarm.

How to turn off a fire alarm depends on the specific model, so always check the manual if you have it. If you have no idea where the manual is (or you’re currently in bed fighting for some shut eye), follow the simple steps below.

1. Press and hold hush button

Press and hold the hush button on the front panel of the alarm for at least 10 seconds. It’s usually the only visible button on the alarm, typically labeled ‘test’, ‘hush’, or ‘silence’.

Holding the hush button for different lengths of time has different functions, so try holding for 30 seconds if 10 doesn’t stop it.

Credit: DIY-time Tech

2. Flip the mains or replace the battery

Investigate the entire property for signs of a fire. If the smoke alarm that’s going off for no reason is hard-wired, try flipping the switch on the mains breaker box. Turn it back on after several seconds and observe.

If a battery-powered smoke alarm keeps going off every 10 minutes or so, it’s more than likely caused by a dying battery, so replace the battery immediately.

3. Reset smoke alarm after replacing battery

Once you’ve replaced the battery, reset the alarm. 

The beeping might continue even after replacing the battery, so if you’re wondering ‘why does my smoke alarm keep going off even with a new battery?’, it’s likely that the alarm unit itself hasn’t actually reset.

Where is the reset button on my smoke detector?

Most smoke detectors only have one button on them in an obvious position, which doubles as a reset button, hush button, and test button. Holding it for a longer period of time (upwards of 30 seconds) might trigger a factory reset.

Other alarms might have a dedicated reset button that requires a pin or pencil to press. Look for a small black hole. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult the manufacturer’s instructions.

Never turn a smoke alarm off permanently. This leaves you vulnerable to the devastating effects of fires.

5 Most Common Reasons for False Alarms

If false alarms happen frequently, get to the bottom of the cause below before replacing the device.

1. Dead fire alarm battery

The most common reason for a false alarm is a dead smoke detector battery.

Without holding it, press the button on the front of the panel to test the battery. If the alarm sounds loudly and clearly, it’s good to go.

If there is no sound, or the alarm is quiet, slurred, or bending in pitch, replace the battery

Pro Tip: Check the battery!

Stay protected by checking the fire alarm’s battery every 6 months, even if it isn’t chirping.

Credit: Everyday Home Repairs

2. Too close to the kitchen

Credit: Kidde Fire Safety

3. Too close to the bathroom

Rising steam from hot water triggers smoke detectors, regardless of how ventilated the bathroom is.

Not to mention, alarms aren’t usually waterproof, so moisture from steam damages circuitry. 

Aside from that, when enjoying a candlelit bath, never leave the lit candle unattended and always remember to extinguish it before exiting the bathroom.

Credit: strategicfire

4. Chemical compounds, insects, and dust

There are certain airborne chemical compounds that trigger a false alarm. 

If some redecorating has recently been done, for instance, there’s a chance that the compounds used to keep paint wet cause the electrical current in the detector to break.

Similarly, if the opening to the chamber is wide enough for bugs to crawl inside, they probably will. 

Insects and accumulations of dust interfere with both photoelectric and ionization smoke detectors, so take a look inside to see if it needs cleaning.

5. Faulty product

If the fire alarm keeps going off despite your best efforts, it’s time to buy a new one.

While fire alarms should, in theory, undergo rigorous testing before being released, there’s a chance that a faulty fire alarm with a weak electrical current was purchased.

Fire alarms must be replaced every ten years, so if more than a decade’s passed since purchase, install a replacement as soon as possible.

Credit: S.E.R Safety

Pro Tip: Who to call when fire alarms going off 

If inspecting the property reveals a source of smoke, evacuate immediately, prioritizing children, elderly folks, and people living with a disability.

From a safe location outside, call the fire brigade by dialing 911. Do not waste time bringing items from the house outside. If your phone isn’t near you, don’t look for it. Ask to borrow a neighbor’s phone instead once everyone is safely outside.

If you have reason to suspect arson has occurred, mention this to the emergency services dispatcher and they may send police alongside the fire brigade.

Your Biggest Carbon Monoxide Concerns, Resolved

Plenty of confusion exists about fire alarms and related products, like carbon monoxide alarms. It’s not always obvious what carbon monoxide is or does, and what types of devices you even need to detect it in the first place.

So, we’ve rounded up your biggest concerns about carbon monoxide to shed light on fire safety.

1. Do fire alarms go off for carbon monoxide?

However, many new fire alarm devices have dual detection features, so if your alarm is a recent purchase, check online to see if it detects carbon monoxide as well as smoke.

2. How do I know if there’s carbon monoxide in my house?

Because it is odorless and invisible, the only reliable way to know if there’s carbon monoxide in the house is to install a carbon monoxide detector, which sounds when there’s dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the air for a certain time. Every house must have carbon monoxide detectors to keep occupants safe.

3. How much carbon monoxide sets off alarm?

50 parts per million (PPM) is the minimum amount of carbon monoxide that causes the alarm to set off. Carbon monoxide sets off an alarm based on the duration of exposure to whatever level it detects in the air. Because it’s only after eight hours of exposure that people feel any effect from 50 PPM in the air, the alarm sets off within eight hours.

If a carbon monoxide alarm detects anything upwards of 400 PPM, it goes off almost immediately.

4. Do carbon monoxide alarms need to be linked to smoke alarms?

No, carbon monoxide alarms don’t need to be linked to smoke alarms to be effective. In fact, in some areas of the house, like the kitchen, placing a carbon monoxide detector is a much more effective safety precaution than a smoke alarm, which is prone to false alarms in kitchens.

What’s important is that the house has a mixture of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Heat detectors are also a useful way to monitor fires.

5. What do carbon monoxide alarms sound like?

Carbon monoxide alarms usually beep excessively if they detect unsafe levels of CO in the atmosphere. Different models have different beeping patterns. A ‘low battery’ warning is usually a single beep every few minutes.


    A fire alarm that keeps going off is a nuisance, but no home should ever ego without a fire alarm, so do not remove the battery unless replacing it immediately.