Saturday, January 02, 1999

Smoke Detectors

We spent part of the night and the very early morning being up and about, wondering why the smoke detector kept going off. Yesterday, I was baking something and I had spilled a little bit of food on a burner and that triggered it a few times. But when the muffins were ready, things went back to normal and it didn't go off any more. Yesterday, we also installed some built in shelves and hubby was stressing out over drilling into an electrical wire instead of a stud.

Then last night, at 2:30am, the smoke detector downstairs went off! The dishwasher was on, so we were wondering whether that had something to do with it. Also of course we thought the screws for the new shelves might have hit something after all. But a careful and thorough inspection of the house didn't reveal anything. The smoke detector had stopped beeping when hubby came downstairs, so after a while, we went back to bed. The moment he lay down 'BEEEEEEP' again.... Back downstairs, new inspection, still nothing seemed to be wrong. So he ended up changing the battery, seeing whether that might be the problem. This seemed to solve the problem for then and he finally came back to bed.

5am. another 'BEEEEEEP' woke me up! Another inspection of the house, still nothing. The smoke detector kept going off though. This time Sander took down this smoke detector and replaced it with another one that was still lying around. This one started beeping with the small beeps that sometimes indicate a low battery, but after a few minutes stopped doing that. After it stopped, we tested it, it worked fine and we went back to bed. We haven't heard it any more.

So I guess the old one gave false alarms, because it was getting old or so??? I don't know how old it is, it was in the house already when we bought it. I am also wondering whether it had something to do with the false alarms while baking yesterday? I had the feeling at night, that it was another false alarm, but I was not going to take that for granted! I felt better after we had installed the other one and that one did not go off. Does anybody know whether smoke alarms do need to be replaced every x years or so to prevent this? I guess there is no sure way to determine whether it is real or a false alarm when they go off? I even considered calling the fire department asking their advice about the smoke detector going off without any clear source, but was hesitant to do so at 3am. I thought that there might be something smouldering behind the new built-in shelves that we could not detect yet. I wasn't sure how to find out about that.

I am also going to buy a fire extinguisher again. We used to have one, but I am not sure where it went with all the moving around and I felt a definite need for one last night!

I am used to being woken up by kids at night, not by smoke detectors! By the way, all four kids slept through all the alarms!!!!!

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