Smoke Alarm Making High Pitched Noise

Smoke Alarm Making High Pitched Noise

Smoke Detector Making High-Pitched Noise

This article is about the smoke alarm making high-pitched noise. The smoke detector and the alarm are the same device, and suddenly it chirps, squeaks, buzzes, and releases high-pitched squeals. They are actually different signals, alerting the house occupants that some action needs to be taken.

Smoke alarms are loud by design, even when there is no fire. Here is what the high-pitched noise means, along with the required action that will make it stop. 

High Pitched Smoke Alarm Squealing

Most home smoke alarms put out at least 85 decibels. It makes about the same sound as a passing diesel truck or a snow blower. Alarms sound louder because they hit higher frequencies.

Why am I Hearing the High Pitched Noise?

Generally, prolonged high-pitched alarm noise has one of three causes.

1) Fire

If the house is on fire or filled with smoke, the noise is probably the least of your worries. Just get out. High-frequency noise can disorient some people. Have everyone in the house put their hands over their ears. This should be enough to keep the noise at tolerable levels.

2) False Alarm

Your smoke alarm can be set off by a number of things that do not include fire or smoke. These include:

  • Steam from the shower or smoke from the kitchen (if the alarm is too close to either)
  • Dust in the air will affect the sensor (a windy day in a dusty location with the windows open)
  • Too close to a heating vent
  • Big temperature fluctuations
  • A defective smoke alarm.

3) Past Best Before Date

Many people do not realize that smoke detectors only last about 10 years. Some of the components begin deteriorating after that time, making the alarm less effective, or not effective at all. 

Shortly before the 10-year mark, the alarm will begin to chirp or beep at random times. Eventually, as the 10-year mark passes, the noise will change to longer beeps. And finally, to a steady high-pitched noise, letting you know that something has to be done. 

What do I Need to do to Stop the Noise?

In all of these instances, pressing the reset button on the face of the smoke alarm will stop the noise, at least temporarily. 

  • Steam. Having your alarm positioned too close to the bathroom door when someone takes a hot steamy shower could set off the alarm. To solve this problem you will have to either move the alarm or change your shower habits.
  • Smoke. Almost all of us have burned something while cooking. If it is bad enough, your alarm will trigger. You can move the alarm further away from the kitchen, and press the reset button to stop the noise. 
  • Dust. A lot of dust blowing in through an open window will affect the smoke alarm much the same as smoke. It never happened to me, but it is in the manufacturer’s indications. This is a rare occurrence that you might have to put up with. It is difficult to control the weather, and keeping windows closed all the time is usually not a great option.
  • Heat. Any time a smoke alarm is close to a heat source, there is a chance of it being activated when the heat comes on, especially if the room is cool. Move the alarm further away from the heat source.
  • Temperature Fluctuations. An alarm could be triggered if it is in a cold or warm area and the temperature is suddenly changed by opening a door and increasing or decreasing the room temperature significantly. The only realistic fix when this happens is to press the reset button to stop the noise.
  • Defective Alarm. If you are sure that nothing else is causing the noise, you may have a defective alarm. Smoke alarm warranties range from 4 to 10 years. This is something that you will discover as soon as you test the alarm.
  • Outdated. Virtually all smoke alarms need to be replaced after about ten years of use. For your family’s safety, just do it. 

Fire Alarm Making High-Pitched Noise

When the fire alarm is making a high-pitched noise, I explain here the causes. We have to add the presence of carbon monoxide as well. 

Other Smoke Alarm Noise – and What it Means

Almost all of the other smoke alarm noises you will hear are chirps and beeps. Other than the “end of life” chirps before the continuous noise starts, these chirps are usually related to your backup battery. Here are some of the causes. You may have to do a little research to solve the problem.

  • Dying battery
  • The battery compartment door is not closed properly
  • Loose battery connection

The chirping will last a minimum of 30 days. When the beeps are happening every 30 or 60 seconds, you know that the battery is very close to being finished. 

However, some manufacturers, like Kidde, have developed a sealed lithium battery that will last the life of the unit, eliminating these annoying chirps.


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BY M. Kogan

Hello, I am Marcio. I am an architect and designer, alma mater is Mackenzie. Retired in theory, but an architect never retires completely. Along with architectural projects, I am a filmmaker and have completed some short documentaries. Filmmaking and design are my passions. In HomeQN I write about home decoration and foundations. The goal is to teach homeowners to DYI as much as possible, and when this is not possible, enable them through knowledge, to evaluate service quotations and choose the best service technicians.

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