Why do my First Alert Smoke Detectors set off when I install a new battery or flip the AC on?
It's fairly common for smoke detectors to trigger for a few moments when a new battery is installed. This can also happen when AC power is flipped on. Should your First Alert Smoke Alarm continue to sound off in the absence of smoke, it may be due to one of the following reasons:
- The battery you just installed is too weak.
- There may be an issue with the voltage or lack of electrical power. If you're having issues with hardwired detectors, briefly disconnect power at the service panel until the brownout (an intentional or unintentional drop in voltage in an electrical power supply system) has passed. Remember to reconnect your AC power. Without this access to power, your hardwired detectors won't be able to alert you to potential dangers.
- The issue may be due to an incompatibility error. An incompatible alarm or supporting device that's hooked into your series of First Alert Smoke Alarms can cause the system to react inadvertently.
My First Alert Smoke Detector won't stop chirping, even with a new battery. What's the problem?
Even with a new battery, there are a few causes that may trigger the chirping in your smoke alarm:
- Your smoke alarm's silence button may have inadvertently been pushed. This will cause the detector to chirp once a minute for upwards of fifteen minutes before returning to normal.
- It may not actually be your smoke detector. Many devices emit a similar chirping sound when batteries are running low in power.
- It may actually be the newly installed batteries. Sometimes, these batteries may not be as new as you'd think. Be sure to always check the date on battery packages before installing them into smoke detectors. Don't forget to keep a handful of replacement batteries nearby just in case.
I lost my First Alert Smoke Detector Manual. Where do I get a new one?
First Alert Smoke Alarm Manuals are available for free download online. We'll also ship a replacement manual for a small shipping fee.
For information on obtaining a replacement owner's manual, please contact:
First Alert Consumer Affairs
3901 Liberty Street Road Aurora,
Hours: 7:30AM-5:00PM CST
What is the proper placement for First Alert Smoke Detectors?
The correct placement of First Alert Smoke Alarms is essential for safeguarding your surroundings. Smoke detectors should be placed at a minimum of 20 ft. away from appliances such as ovens, furnaces and others that emit combustion particles. Smoke alarms should also be places at least 10 ft. from high humidity areas like those near showers and laundry rooms. It's also recommended that you place your detector at least ft. from heat/AC vents. Don't forget to install a smoke detector in every bedroom, at the top of each stairwell and on every level within your home.
Why doesn't my First Alert Smoke Alarm sound when I push the test button?
First Alert Smoke Alarms should be tested frequently. There are a number of reasons that may be preventing your smoke detector from emitting sound during this test:
- Are you sure that you're holding the test button long enough? Try pressing it down for at least 10 seconds. Add another 10 seconds for photoelectric smoke detectors.
- Your smoke alarm's battery may not be installed correctly. Make sure that it's fastened securely within the smoke alarm.
- Your home's AC power may have been deactivated. Hardwired smoke alarms feature a power indicator light (red or green) that will remain active when they are receiving the necessary power.
- Do you have a 10-Year Smoke Alarm? Your detector may not have been activated. Did the tab break away before activation? Don't worry. It's an easy fix with a toothpick. Simply move the switch over to test the alarm.
Is the National Fire Protection Association of Canada (NFPA) correct in recommending that smoke alarms be replaced after 10 years?
- Yes, smoke detectors have a finite lifespan. First Alert Smoke Alarms must are required to pass a series of tests to ensure persistent performance and reliability. And while they're designed to secure peace of mind, any part within a smoke alarm may fail as time progresses. It's therefore encouraged that detectors be tested once a week.
- Smoke detectors that exceed the ten year limit are simply not reliable. To ensure overall safety, it's suggested that all carbon monoxide and combination detectors be replaced every 7 years. Smoke alarms should be replaced once every 10 years.
- Don't forget! Once a smoke detector has surpassed its 10 year lifecycle, protection levels are diminished. Replace your old alarms with a new First Alert detector and eliminate any lingering doubts.
Why does my First Alert Smoke Detector trigger when there's no smoke present?
There are a few scenarios that may be causing your smoke alarms to trigger a false alarm:
- Is your smoke detector clean? The cover or sensor chamber may be covered in lint, dust and/or dirt. Alarms can often look clean, but be covered with any of the aforementioned particles. This can be remedied by gently vacuuming your smoke detector with the use of a soft brush.
- Insects can infiltrate and clog the sensor chamber within your alarm. This can also be fixed with a little light vacuuming. To prevent this from happening, be certain to apply insect repellent. (NEVER APPLY REPELLENT DIRECTLY ON THE ALARM)
- There may have been a hiccup with the power. Hardwired smoke alarms may trigger briefly when power is interrupted and then brought back.
- There may also be a loose or faulty detector. Loose connections can disconnect electrical connection with your AC or AC/DC smoke power to smoke detectors. The result is identical in the event of a power failure. When power returns, the alarms may sound briefly before returning to normal.
What is the difference between Ionization Smoke Alarms and Photoelectric Smoke Alarms?
First Alert Smoke Alarms feature Ionization and Photoelectric sensors. Here are the primary differences between the two technologies:
- Ionization Sensor Technology — smoke detectors that use ionization sensing technology are excellent for detecting small particles. These tend to be characterized by fast, flaming fires. Sources of these combustible fires include paper burning in a in a wastebasket or a grease fire in the kitchen.
- Photoelectric Sensor Technology — smoke detectors that implement photoelectric sensing technology are excellent for detecting large smoke particles. These tend to be characterized by slow fires. Sources of these smoldering fires may include cigarettes burning in couches or bedding.
For the best result, implement ionization and photoelectric technology detectors in the home.
Are there any specific replacement batteries I should be using for my First Alert Smoke Alarm?
- Not all First Alert Smoke Alarms use the same size battery. The most common battery type found in First Alert Smoke Detectors are: AA, AAA, 9V and long life lithium.
- Your Owner's Manual will tell you which variety of batteries have been approved for your smoke alarm.
- Rechargeable batteries should never be considered an option. They're too unreliable and require constant upkeep.