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Thread: Smoke detectors and dogs

  1. #1

    Smoke detectors and dogs

    After another difficult night I hope someone here at SC can give me some advice. I have two basic questions.

    1st question.

    We live in a somewhat rural area that is subject to power outages. Our home has Firex model i4618 smoke detectors hard wired with battery back up. My problem is that whenever we get a power outage some of these units chirp? Even if they have a brand new battery installed they chirp when they lose AC power.
    These units are not old, (some less than a year), and not all of them do this. Is the chirping some type of warning that the AC is off? Once they begin chirping, they will not stop until AC power returns, or you disconnect the battery from the detector.

    2nd question.

    My four year old golden retriever actually freaks out when he hears the chirping. I am not sure whether it hurts his ears but he actually seems to shake in fear.
    Is this a common problem for dogs?

    Finally, if anyone can direct me to a better brand of smoke detector or another solution to stop this chirping when the power goes out, please let me know.

    I appreciate your input!
    Epilog 45 watt, Graphtec cutter-plotter, Corel Graphics Suite X3 - X4, HP and Vaio computers, woodshop.

    "Trust, but Verify"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    St. George, UT
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    1,001
    Mine does the same thing and my dog heads for the back yard. He is afraid to come into the house for awhile even after the chirping stops.
    Best Regards,

    Gordon

  3. #3
    Same instance in our home but I believe the chirping is not from loss of AC power but low 9V battery power. I've found that replacing them with a high-quality 9V yearly seems to fix the problem. Cheap, off-brand batteries must not maintain the level of voltage required.

    In one room, the detector would not stop the erratic beep so I finally disconnected it and put in a quality battery powered detector.

    And yes, our dog goes ballistic when it chirps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    north, OR
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    +2 on the dogs freaking out, both of ours do it one much worse than the other. The one that has the worst fear had some bad experiences under surgery and we think it might be some residual from the beep of the heart monitor (any hissing noise also sends him into a cowering shaking terror which we think is probably related).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
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    23,746
    I would contact the manufacturer and find out if the detector is supposed to chirp when AC power has failed.
    Ken

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
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    According to the manual, if they're chirping every minute, it could be a low battery issue.
    If they're all on the same string, you could put the whole string on a UPS, in addition to the battery in the base unit. You would still want to change the batteries periodically.

    Link to the manual.

    http://www.sentrydetectors.com/firex/manual/4618.pdf
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 01-13-2013 at 3:24 PM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    West of Ft. Worth, TX
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    No information for you on the cause of the beeps, but our current old girl (only 8 years old) and the 11+ year old girl we lost to cancer last Sept, freak(ed) out at a smoke detector going off. Burn some toast, detector goes off. Too many times, dog starts relating doing certain things in the kitchen to the smoke detector going off. To the point now with Tainey, if we open the Freezer door (not the Fridge!!!) she runs and hides. Opens the linen closet door that has no handles, and crawls behind the dirty close hamper and hides. It's ok if the closet door closes on her, because she ain't coming out till she's sure the coast is clear. I can only think that there is something besides the human audible beep that drives them nuts. Haven't had an episode of the detector going off in probably 4 years, but it doesn't matter. Weird stuff. Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...Exclusively Irish! When Irish Eyes are smiling....They're usually up to something!!
    Home of Irish Setter Rescue of North Texas.
    No, I'm not an electrician. Any information I share is purely what I would do myself. If in doubt, hire an electrician!
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    At a minimum, I'm Pentatoxic...Most likely I'm a Pentaholic. There seems to be no known cure. Pentatonix, winners of The Sing Off, s3.

  8. #8
    Thank you all for your responses. Interestingly, we recently lost our 13 year old golden who was absolutely terrified of electronic beeps and even thunder. We always thought it was because he was once in the house by himself when a lightning strike hit very near the house and fried every electronic circuit board in the home. However, the 4 year old golden did not have such an experience but is still very afraid of the electronic beeps.

    Anyway, I am going to circle back and make absolutely sure I have fresh and very high grade batteries in all of the detectors. I still believe that I will untimately have to change out all of the detectors to a higher grade unit.
    Epilog 45 watt, Graphtec cutter-plotter, Corel Graphics Suite X3 - X4, HP and Vaio computers, woodshop.

    "Trust, but Verify"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Newport News, VA
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    We have a couple of alarms with a "hush" feature. These are for those alarms that get triggered by cooking gases -- you silence them, but they will chirp periodically until the gasses dissipate or you actively reset them for a second time. I wonder if you are experiencing something similar -- you alarms are going to chirp on a regular basis until reset after a power break, just to be on the safe side.

    Cheers,

    Chris
    If you only took one trip to the hardware store, you didn't do it right.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Upland CA
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    The cause is one of two things, old detectors, or old batteries. You say the detectors are not old. By the way 10 years max, then replace them. Are they all the same??

    If so, it's probably a battery. I believe you will find that if the detectors are linked like most newer systems, one bad battery will make the whole system crazy, and a detector will start to chirp. Maybe not even the one with the bad battery. They are weird that way. As mentioned above, replace ALL the batteries with name brand batteries at the same time. Also check the wiring to ensure it is not loosened in the wire nuts from playing with the detectors.

    I have a rental house that gave me fits, untill I replaced ALL the smoke detectors with new matching detectors and batteries. One tested out bad, then another, etc. At $10 each, it is not worth your time to keep playing with them, not to mention the safety issue.

    Rick Potter
    Retired fire guy.

    PS: About the name brand batteries. For a while I used batteries from the 99 cent store in my rentals. Even though they are marked as being HD, and good for another couple years, they would not last a full year. I replace them on New Years each year. Since I went to name brand, no problemo.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    So West Colorado
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    129
    We have smoke detectors in our home. After the first year our batteries went bad. I went to Home Depot as they sell 10 year batteries designed for smoke detectors. To date we have had no problems. I suspect I will be replacing them this summer. Nothing is more thrilling than climbing a 17 foot ladder.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Upland CA
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    Steve,

    My first thought about the 10 year batteries was 'wow, that's great for my rentals'. My second thought was 'but they will disappear quickly'. They sound great for private homes though.

    Rick Potter

  13. #13
    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing this.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Pennington, NJ 08534
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    My unofficial take on dogs and loud beeping noises is that there are two things at play. First, dogs are really sensitive to sound anyway, so a high pitched chirping is going to annoy them anyway. But, training collars (including invisible fence collars) emit a high pitched chirp before the shock hits. These tend to make dogs even more sensitize (fearful) of any high pitched sound. Even if you don't use one, it's possible that a prior owner did. Although I hate the idea of invisible fence collars, we live in a suburban neighborhood that prohibits fences (unless you have a pool). Therefore, everyone uses invisible fence collars to allow our dogs to be outside alone safely (without running into the street).

    We rescued our dog around 18 months ago and were about to start training her on the invisible fence. Never even got to put the collar on her. We were just testing the collar to see if it worked and, as soon as she heard the first chirp, she flipped out and tried to run into the house. This was our first rescue, so I had never seen anything like that.

    Just my theory.

    Steve

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lafayette, IN
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    3,679
    That chirping drives ME nuts! All too often, if I'm working in new construction, the electricians will turn the power on, but leave the protective cover over the smoke detectors, and the tab in place that prevents the battery from making contact. So I may have to work with that chirping going on for DAYS...grrrr...

    I do believe that with hard-wired smoke detectors that have battery back-up, they are designed to chirp if they cannot detect BOTH AC AND DC power sources. Also, I've had a standard Duracell 9V battery last in a smoke detector over 5 years, and that was with the dumb thing going off at least once a week due to its close proximity to the kitchen--we didn't even have to burn anything to set it off, though frying something or toasting something seemed to be the biggest culprit activities.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


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