Troubleshooting your Smoke Alarms

Pressing the Hush Button

A smoke alarm that falsely sounds and beeps can be a real nuisance in the home. There are multiple reasons why an alarm might be sounding besides a fire and it can be frustrating figuring out the reason why. Listed below are some of the reasons it may be beeping and the steps you can take to silence the alarm. Please note that this is just general advice as each brand of smoke alarm is different.

Flat Battery

If an alarm is chirping every 30 to 60 seconds its battery may need replacing.

The first thing you need to do is identify the power source of your alarm. There are three types of power sources your smoke alarm could have:

  • 9v Battery: These alarms have a 9volt battery as their sole power source. This is the classic smoke alarm model where the batteries can be removed and replaced by yourself.
  • 10yr Sealed Lithium Battery: Alarms with this type of battery last 10 years. The batteries are not removable and once flat the whole alarm will need replacing. Although this may seem frustrating, alarms are meant to be replaced after 10 years from the date of manufacture and this battery ensures that the alarm does get replaced.
  • 240v Hard Wiring: These alarms are wired into the property’s main power supply. To indicate if the power is on there will either be a green or blue LED light lit up. Additionally, there will be a 9v or 10yr sealed lithium battery in the alarm as a backup power supply. If it is a 9v it will be removable, but if it is a 10yr lithium battery then it cannot be removed and the whole alarm will need replacing.

For 10yr sealed lithium batteries or 240v wired smoke alarms do not attempt to replace the alarm yourself. We recommend contacting your real estate to arrange one of our experienced technicians to come out.

Malfunctioning Alarm

If an alarm is malfunctioning it will consistently chirp between flashes of a red LED light. Do not attempt to remove the alarm. Call your real estate agent as soon as possible to get them to arrange for one of our technicians to come out and replace your alarm.

Accidental Alarm Activations

Sometimes a smoke alarm can sound when accidentally triggered by something similar to smoke. When this happens locate the ‘Hush’ button on your smoke alarm and press it. This will silence the alarm. However, it will reset its self after 15 minutes so it may retrigger if the issue has not been resolved.

Here are some factors that can accidentally trigger alarms:

Cooking Fumes

Cooking fumes can cause a smoke alarm to activate especially when the smoke alarm is located too close to the kitchen. Once the hush feature has been activated try to clear the smoke as fast as possible by ventilating the area before the alarm reactivates.

Insects and Dust

High air movement from loose particles such as dust and insects can trigger a false alarm. Ensuring the alarm is cleaned on a regular basis will reduce the chance of this happening.


Steam from bathrooms and laundry can cause a smoke alarm to activate by interfering with the sensor. Try to make sure these areas are well ventilated.

High Humidity

High humidity can cause water vapours to develop inside the smoke sensor causing the alarm to react the same way it does to smoke. If you live in a high humidity region, like North Queensland, it’s a good idea to invest in a smoke alarm brand that carries a higher humidity rating.

Smoke alarms can also accidentally alarm if they have power issues, incorrect wiring, ripple frequency issues, are on shared circuits, or the rechargeable battery has been drained due to power supply issues. Unfortunately, it won’t be obvious if one of these is the reason for the false alarm. If you suspect one of these to be the issue do not disarm the alarm. Call your real estate agent as soon as possible to get them to arrange for one of our technicians to come out to find the source of the problem and resolve it.