Last week there was a little bit of excitement chez Diehl, as our home alarm system went off in the middle of the afternoon, triggered by one of the smoke detectors (that is hard-wired to the alarm system) on the second floor. I wasn’t cooking (in fact, I was cleaning out our freezer), so it couldn’t be that…and when the alarm company called, I told her to go ahead and send the fire department to check everything out.
I was able to disarm the alarm system, but not shut off the smoke detector through the system (I’ve since learned how to do that…handy info), so I took the boys outside to wait for the fire trucks to arrive. Something they won’t soon forget, I’m sure. It turned out to be nothing; the fire department looked around everywhere and ended up pretty much just ripping our smoke detector off the ceiling, saying it malfunctioned.
Which was true; it did malfunction. Had I know how to turn it off, they wouldn’t have had to rip it off the ceiling to make it stop chirping. We ended up having to have our alarm company rep come to the house and install a new smoke detector, and here’s what I learned: false alarms like this can occur on all smoke detectors, and the primary reason is that they’re dirty.
How come no one ever told me this before? Apparently when dust or pollen gets trapped in the unit, blah blah blah some scientific stuff. Bottom line: every 6 months, you should hook your attachment up to your vacuum and clean the outside of your smoke detectors. Also, be sure to clean things like your air return grills – when those get dirty, that dust just continues to be cycled through the air, causing more stuff to clog up your smoke detectors.
So now, we have the cleanest smoke detectors in the whole county, I’m sure.
Two questions for you:
1. If you live in a 2-story house, do you have some kind of escape ladder on the second floor? We don’t, and it freaks me out a little bit.
2. Jack Henry did not wake up from his nap when the alarms went off (his door was closed, but they were both SCREAMING loud), which scared me, too. Has anyone bought the parent-voice recording smoke detector? Frightening video example here: