There are a number of possible reasons why a smoke alarm could be beeping. The most important thing is to not ignore this, as they are warning signs of either a danger in the home or that an alarm needs maintenance.
The smoke alarm is equipped with a sounder and LED’s in order to communicate with you. The sounder is used when the communication is important (or imminently dangerous).
The two main reasons that smoke alarms chirp or beep is to alert the occupants of a low power condition or to alert of a contaminated detection chamber. To distinguish between the two, please take the following steps;
|Battery Powered||Mains Powered|
10-year non removable lithium battery
If the alarm is beeping about once a minute with the red light flashing at the same time, indicates that the lithium battery is partially depleted and the alarm needs to be replaced (check the “replace by” date marked on the side of the alarm).
10-year lithium rechargeable, non-replaceable back-up battery
Look at the smoke alarm and ensure that the green LED is illuminated. You may see the red LED flash every 40 seconds, this is perfectly normal and indicates that a “self-test” cycle has been conducted. If the green LED is not illuminated, then there has been a mains power failure and the smoke alarm back-up battery is nearing depletion. Please check and reset the circuit breaker in your home’s distribution board and return to examine the status of the indicators. If in doubt contact a licensed electrician.
If the alarm has been chirping/beeping as a result of mains power failure and the battery is nearing charge depletion, the alarm may continue to chirp/beep for a few hours while the rechargeable battery is being recharged after mains power restoration. This will stop as soon as the battery charge point exceeds the lower threshold.
9-volt replaceable models only
A fresh Alkaline battery should last for over a year. When the battery power is low and replacement is necessary, the smoke alarm will beep and the red light will flash at the same time about once per minute for at least 30 days. The heat alarm will also beep once per minute, but the red light will not flash at the same time when the battery is low. The battery must then be replaced. Also, replace the battery if the alarm does not sound when the Test button is pressed. For maximum reliability, replace the battery at least once per year. When you replace the battery, you must press the test button to check that the alarm is functioning correctly.
9-volt alkaline battery back-up
If you have a mains primary powered smoke alarm with a replaceable 9-volt Alkaline battery and the alarm beeping/chirping coincides with the red LED indicator flashing (once every 40 seconds), then this is an indication that the back-up battery is in need of replacement. Please replace the depleted battery with one of the following brand types;
• Duracell MN1604,
If the chirping/beeping is not being indicated as a loss of mains power or a depleted back-up battery, then it is likely that the smoke alarm may be contaminated with dust. Remove the alarm head from the base and use a vacuum cleaner with a nozzle fitted or a compressed air source to dislodge any loose dust from the chamber. Re-install to determine if the chirping or beeping has stopped.
For Brooks alarms that are AudioLINK™ enabled, downloading our free “App” onto your smart phone (Apple or Android) will provide an additional method to determine the cause of the beeping alert on your alarm. Look for the data in “red-boxes” on the resultant test report. Please follow the AudioLINK™ instructions contained within the App on how to use this feature.
To find out if your alarm is AudioLINK™ enabled, look for the small “smartphone” icon on the front of your alarm.
There are a number of possible reasons why a CO alarm could be beeping. The most important thing is to not ignore this, as they are warning signs of either a danger in the home or that an alarm needs maintenance.
|Battery Powered - 10-year non removable lithium battery||Mains Powered - 10-year lithium rechargeable, non-replaceable back-up battery|
The CO alarm will beep and the amber LED will flash to indicate a fault condition.
If the alarm is beeps once with 1 amber flash, this indicates a low battery = replace the alarm
If the alarm beeps twice with 2 amber flashes, this indicates a faulty sensor = replace the alarm
If the alarm beeps three times with 3 amber flashes, this indicates the end of life of the alarm = replace the alarm
If the battery backup supply is depleted, the sounder will give one short chirp with one yellow LED fault indicator flash every 48 seconds. In this case check that the green LED power indicator is on continuously. If it is off, or flashing every 48 seconds, the Alarm is not receiving 230V AC mains power and is being powered by the battery backup. The chirp every 48 seconds indicates that the battery is depleted. The battery is not replaceable. Check fuses, circuit breakers and wiring to determine the cause of the interruption to the mains power. If in doubt, contact a qualified electrician. Once mains power is reinstated, the chirps should cease within 2 hours as the battery charges up. If the chirping persists for over 2 hours with the green light on, there may be some other problem with the Alarm.
The Alarm regularly checks the CO sensor and/or thermistor heat sensor for correct operation. If the Alarm has found a fault with the sensor, it will give 2 short chirps with 2 yellow LED flashes every 48 seconds. In this case, the Alarm must be returned for repair or replacement.
Once the Alarm passes its 10th year of installation, it will give 3 short chirps with 3 yellow LED flashes every 48 seconds to indicate it has reached its end of useful life. The entire Alarm must be replaced (Also check the replace by date on the label on the side of the Alarm). Disconnect the mains first and replace the Alarm.
Most of Brooks alarms have a 10-year life, after which they should be replaced to ensure you continue to receive the best possible protection coverage.
However, the person that installed the alarms in your home may not have left you with the details of the date they installed them, or you may have moved into a property with alarms already installed – so how can you check the age of your alarms?
All Brooks alarms have a date-code label on the side of them which will indicate exactly when the alarm was made and also the recommended replacement date.
The four digit code shows you the year and week that the alarm was made. The first two digits relate to the year and the second two digits relate to the week.
Above this is the ‘Replace By’ date, but note that the date on the label shows the maximum life of the alarm and alarms should always be replaced before their life is up.
For Brooks alarms that are AudioLINK enabled, downloading our free “App” onto your smart phone (Apple or Android) will provide an additional method to determine the age of the alarm. This will be displayed in the test report. Please follow the AudioLINK instructions contained within the App on how to use this feature.
There are two different types of batteries used as battery back-ups in the Brooks mains powered alarms. The batteries could be the sealed in Lithium batteries that last the 10-year life of the alarms or the replaceable type 9-volt alkaline battery as its back-up power supply. We also have primary battery powered smoke alarms which are either sealed, non-replaceable, non-rechargeable 10-year lithium batteries or the 9-volt alkaline replaceable type battery. The 9-volt alkaline battery will need changing across the life span of the alarm. Typically, this should be undertaken annually.
The rechargeable back-up Lithium batteries are non-replaceable as required by the Australian design standard. These batteries should last the lifetime of the smoke alarm (10-years).
It is not unusual for a Lithium battery back-up smoke alarm to “beep or chirp” for a few hours after the alarm has been powered down for a considerable time (and run the back-up battery flat). As soon as the rechargeable batteries reach a minimum charge level, the beeping or chirping will stop.
As for the replaceable Alkaline type battery back-up models, you will know when you need to change the battery, as you will hear a single regular beep (low battery warning) coming from the alarm, however it is recommended that you change the battery every year before this occurs (especially if you do not want to be woken in the early hours of the morning to change a battery!).
How to change the battery:
- Turn off the mains power to the alarm (for mains powered alarms). The green light on the alarm will go out
- Insert a flat headed screwdriver into the removal slot of the alarm. This is marked with an arrow. Make sure you keep the screwdriver horizontal (i.e. parallel to the ceiling)
- Slide the alarm off its base and you will be able to see the 9-volt battery in the back
- Replace the battery in the back of the alarm with one of the following recommended 9-volt alkaline batteries:
- Duracell MN1604,
- Energizer 6LR61,
- Philips 6LR61,
- Varta 6LR61 or
- Ultralife U9VL-J Lithium
- Take care with the battery clip and wires as damage to these will result in constant beeps, meaning that the unit will need to be replaced
- Slide the alarm back on its base
- Turn the power back on. The green light on the alarm will come back on
- Finally test the alarm to ensure the unit is working correctly
Please note that the alarm head will not be able to be refitted to the base without a battery being fitted. This is an Australian design requirement to prevent alarms from being refitted to bases without back-up batteries.
It is important to carry out regular cleaning and alarm maintenance, as this will minimise the risk of nuisance beeps and false alarms from dust and contaminant ingress and ensure your alarm is able to provide the life-saving protection it’s designed to do.
- Turn off mains power to the alarm (for mains powered alarms). The green light will go out.
- With the thin nozzle attachment on your vacuum cleaner, vacuum around the vents.
- Clean the cover using a damp cloth. Dry with a lint free cloth.
- Turn the mains power back on. The green light will come back on.
The smoke alarm has a five (5) year warranty and the manufacturer nominates a ten (10) year life span. However, a build-up of dust, grime or cooking residue may cause the smoke alarm to become contaminated and this will cause nuisance alarms and result in a reduction of the smoke alarms useful life.
While your smoke alarm sounds, pressing the hush button will silence the smoke alarm for approximately 10 minutes. The hush feature is typically used where an alarm has been triggered accidently. This provides time to clear the current environment of fumes that triggered the alarm without the alert tone sounding. The smoke alarm will automatically reset back to normal after 10 minutes.
Performing a regular test is a vital part of ensuring continued fire and carbon monoxide detection. Alarms should be tested weekly to ensure everything is working correctly.
In the centre of the smoke alarm, there is a clearly marked test button. Gently push the test button and hold for approximately 10 seconds. The smoke alarm will sound, release the test button and the smoke alarm will continue to sound for a few seconds and then stop. If you cannot reach the smoke alarms from ground level, the Brooks smoke alarm is designed to be easily pressed with a broom handle or similar. This is safer than climbing up on a chair to test the alarm.
If you have other alarms in the property, they should be linked together. This means that if one alarm sounds, it will send a signal to trigger the other alarms in the property – so you can hear them sound in the background. Finally, repeat the steps on all other alarms in the property.
In Australia, each state has a different legislation when it comes to smoke alarms. Visit our Legislation page to understand what is required in your state. In short:
- At least 1 smoke alarm is required on each level of a home.
- There must be a smoke alarm in any passageway or corridor leading to bedrooms.
- If a corridor or passageway does not lead to a bedroom, but could be an escape path, then a smoke alarms should be fitted in this path.
- In Queensland, all bedrooms should contain photoelectric smoke alarms.
- All smoke alarms in the home should be interconnected.
The ideal position of a smoke alarm is on the ceiling between sleeping and living areas. Avoid fitting smoke alarms in or near your kitchen, laundry or bathroom.
Depending on the size and layout of your home, it may be necessary to install more than one smoke alarm to provide sufficient warning.
Smoke alarms must not be placed within:
- 300mm of a corner of a ceiling and a wall
- 300mm of a light fitting
- 400mm of an air-conditioning vent
- 400mm of the blades of a ceiling fan
There are special requirements for stairways, sloping ceilings, and ceilings with exposed beams.
Every dwelling is different so you will need to assess yours. Avoid installation in the following positions:
- in dead air space. This is an area in which trapped hot air will prevent smoke from reaching the alarm. This space generally occurs at the apex of cathedral ceilings, the corner junction of walls and ceilings, and between exposed floor joists.
- near windows, doors, fans or air-conditioners. Excessive air movement may prevent smoke and gases from reaching the smoke alarm or cause nuisance alarms.
Accidental alarms can be a nuisance and become dangerous if home owners remove the alarm batteries or disable an interconnected system to silence the alarm.
Nuisance alarms can be avoided by not placing alarms in or near kitchens where cooking smoke can set them off, or in or near bathrooms where steam often causes accidental alarms.
Also avoid insect infested areas, as insects flying into the alarm can trigger an alarm.
Ideally a Carbon Monoxide alarm should be installed in:
- Every room containing a fuel burning appliance
- Remote rooms where occupants spend a considerable amount of time
- Every bedroom
However if the number of Carbon Monoxide Alarms to be fitted is limited, the following points should be considered when deciding where to best fit the alarm(s):
- If there is an appliance in a room where people sleep, place a CO Alarm in this room.
- Locate a CO alarm in a room containing a flueless or open-flued appliance.
- Locate a CO alarm in a room where the occupant(s) spend most of their time (e.g. lounge room).
- In a studio apartment, the CO alarm should be placed as far away from the cooking appliance as possible, but near to where the person sleeps.
- If the appliance is in a room not normally used, the CO alarm should be placed just outside the room so that the alarm will be heard more easily.
Brooks alarms which are RadioLINK enabled are designed to inherently interconnect with each other. This “connection by default” is to ensure that alarms within RF range are interconnected regardless of whether the installer followed the installation instructions or not. In this way, interconnect compliance is automatically attained.
Of course, since the alarms will inherently connect, this means that if another system is installed within RF range of your system, the “two networks” will combine to form a single network. This means that if an adjacent system alarms due to an event, your system will appear to be “false alarming” as you would not be able to identify a problem.
To avoid this, Brooks highly recommends that your smoke alarm system be “house coded”. This will restrict your system to incorporating the alarms within your home only and thus avoid erroneous alarm events.
Once you have installed all your RadioLINK products you will need to set them up in a system to recognise each other and then close this system off to avoid the alarms being triggered by neighbouring systems – we call this House Coding;
Step 1 – Ensure all your alarms have been installed and tested and the RadioLINK interconnection has been established (all alarms sound when a test button is pressed).
Step 2 – Insert a small, flat, screwdriver into the House Code slot on the side of the alarm or RadioLINK base.
Step 3 – Hold it in until the blue LED comes on solidly, then release.
Step 4 – Remove the screwdriver and the blue LED will flash once every 5 seconds (approx.) to indicate that it is in House Code mode and is looking for other alarms. For the 10-year Lithium primary power models, reattached them to their bases and look for the blue flashing LED.
Step 5 – Repeat the House Code process in Steps 1-4 above with all the bases or alarms in your system.
Step 6 – All the bases in the system will start to flash blue. Check that the number of flashes is the same as the number of alarms in the system, e.g. if there are 3 alarms, the blue LED will flash 3 times every 5 seconds on every alarm. This only needs to be observed on any one of the alarms (no need to check all the alarms for the correct number of flashes).
Step 7 – Once the correct amount of flashes is present, insert a screwdriver into the House Code slot on the side of one of the alarms or bases until the blue LED comes on solidly, then release.
Step 8 – The blue LEDs on all units will now stop flashing and the entire system will automatically ‘seal’.
Step 9 – The alarm system has now been House Coded. Press and hold the test button on each alarm in turn and check that all alarms in the system sound.
Although we recommend the above procedure for House Coding and sealing a RadioLINK system, it is worth noting that the system will manually seal itself after 30 minutes once put into House Code mode.
It is highly likely that your smoke alarms were fitted by an electrical contractor or perhaps your new home came already installed with Brooks smoke alarms. In most cases, new homes or significantly renovated homes would be fitted with mains powered smoke alarms as a first choice.
The easiest and quickest way of making this determination is that the Brooks Mains powered smoke alarms will have a permanently illuminated green indicator when the mains power is connected. The 10-year Lithium battery models do not have this.
Other distinguishing features are that the mains powered smoke alarm “slides” onto its base which contains slots for the power pins on the alarm head to locate into. The base plate will also have a 230Vac warning label visible when the alarm head is removed. The 10-year Lithium battery models rotate approximately 5° to 10° and then drop out of their bases.
Lastly, the mains powered smoke alarms have a larger diameter than the battery powered alarms. Of course, unless you have one of each, you would not be able to make this determination with ease. The mains powered alarms are approximately 152mm in diameter whereas the 10-year Lithium models are only 115mm in diameter.