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False smoke/CO detector alarms driving me crazy

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  • Jul 2nd, 2022 9:17 pm
[OP]
Member
Nov 13, 2019
311 posts
100 upvotes
Toronto

False smoke/CO detector alarms driving me crazy

Hi, we're at wit's end with our smoke/CO detectors. We have these Kidde hardwired, interconnected, photoelectric, 4-5ish yo detectors that love to randomly go off once or twice a year when nothing is going on. They actually happen around this time of the year

The worst part is that they're interconnected and have strobe lights that basically turn the house into a disco and blind the living f out of us at night while deafening too (good thing we don't have epilepsy or something). Is it code that smoke/CO detectors need to be interconnected in Toronto and turn into strobe lights (we live in a tiny house and there's no way an alarm in the other side of the house won't wake us up)?

The first time this happened we were made aware that dust or whatever can trigger them so regular vacuuming is necessary, which we started to do, but before moving into this place do we ever remember needing to do this and our detectors never had false alarms like this (aside from chirping for low batt)

Can you guys suggest a particular brand/model that has a good track record? Or a solution to our problem? Are the Nest ones worth every penny?

Image

Thanks
19 replies
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Jun 18, 2020
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The code is you can't change to new units "less" than what you have. I have interconnected but not strobe, so I replaced with non strobe that interconnect. Since you have interconnected and strobe, you must replace with interconnected and strobe or you violate code.

People who just have independent battery ones, just need that type to comply.

If I were you I'd replace. One, cause it's annoying. Two, perhaps they are malfunctioning and thus dangerous. Three, at 5 yrs, they ain't young. Mine recently started to malfunction at less than 8 yrs.

You can try first alert or brk. Same company. They have interconnected wiring harnesses that you'd need to check are compatible with your kiddle mount. I've read some kiddle harnesses would be compatible, but can't confirm.

For my new ones, the wiring harness fit. When I tested, the other detectors started going off, so to me the connection worked. At least that was my way to trouble shoot the system still functioned, perhaps others can correct me if that's wrong.
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Oct 23, 2008
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I've read that the Kidde are prone to this type of malfunction, hence the reason why I chose to use First Alert / BRK as @GTA12345 has suggested.
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+1 for the BRK ones. I have four of them interconnected in my place and they've been very reliable. I did have to swap them all out recently as they hit the 10 year old mark but that's money I'll never complain about spending.

Swap them out. If functioning properly, the strobe won't affect you since they won't be going off for no reason.
[OP]
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Nov 13, 2019
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Toronto
@GTA12345 interesting code..

Thanks all for the suggestions, I'll look into that brand

Now, does it really matter whether I use photoelectric or ionization (I read that ionization is a lot more sensitive)? I noticed that some detectors don't offer both options

Thanks
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timofeewho wrote: @GTA12345 interesting code..

Thanks all for the suggestions, I'll look into that brand

Now, does it really matter whether I use photoelectric or ionization (I read that ionization is a lot more sensitive)? I noticed that some detectors don't offer both options

Thanks
I'm no expert, but I guess a lot of code works like that. Post war home might have been code compliant when built, but isn't now... but not forced to upgrade outdated stairs, railings, wiring, etc.

WRT strobe, there was a user here, @Firetech perhaps, who pointed out at night, the strobe could help direct fire services to your location quickly. One positive.

As for the two types of current detectors, I don't think it matters for code. I actually installed both types, separate units, to cover myself. They detect different types of fires. But I'm risk averse, I'd think many don't go that far.
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Lol, put in whatever type you want, battery, hardwired, strobe,vwhatever. You live there, it's your house. No one will be cross checking what kind of alarm you replaced, only that you had one.
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
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Toukolou wrote: Lol, put in whatever type you want, battery, hardwired, strobe,vwhatever. You live there, it's your house. No one will be cross checking what kind of alarm you replaced, only that you had one.
Nah man...bad advice.
A hardwired interconnected should be replaced with a hardwired interconnected. Also, don't cheap out. No need to put yourself or family at risk to save a few dollars (or pennies/day considering the 7-10yr life of the device).

Plz don't be the same ppl who try to save a few dollars on safety equipment but have no problem buying a 75" tv or latest cell phone. Crazy.
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chimaican wrote: Nah man...bad advice.
A hardwired interconnected should be replaced with a hardwired interconnected. Also, don't cheap out. No need to put yourself or family at risk to save a few dollars (or pennies/day considering the 7-10yr life of the device).

Plz don't be the same ppl who try to save a few dollars on safety equipment but have no problem buying a 75" tv or latest cell phone. Crazy.
Why is that? What's the problem with battery operated detectors?

Will they not serve the same purpose?
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Toukolou wrote: Why is that? What's the problem with battery operated detectors?

Will they not serve the same purpose?
Because some people tend to not change the batteries when required. A lot of those fires where people died and the Fire Marshall said there was non-working smoke alarms tend to be those where the batteries were not replaced. At least with hardwired, you know it will always be receiving power unless there is a power outage (and in those cases, there tends to be a battery back-up.) Hardwired, as in OPs case, also likely means it's interconnected (and in OPs case, it is interconnected), so if one goes off, they all do. In case of a fire or CO leak (especially at night when everyone is groggy), every few seconds can mean between life and death. It's better to have all the alarms go off especially if one sleep on the 2nd floor and the basement one is triggered. I would rather be alerted immediately rather than wait for the smoke/gas to travel upstairs.

It is better to be safe than sorry... and again, why be cheap on a device meant to save lives?
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Toukolou wrote: Why is that? What's the problem with battery operated detectors?

Will they not serve the same purpose?
I'd think you could say this for a lot of code. Advantages of more stringent code over time will often be tiny and incremental.

Now, I don't think this applies in the case of op, but generally, if one has tenants, a rental, this ignoring of code would be opening up one to great liability. Even if we forget the human risk, it's great financial risk.

But even in a detached, if my neighbour had a fire that damages my home, and I find out his detectors were not to code, I'm calling a lawyer. I don't know if I'd be in the right, but I'm def checking it out.

End of day, it's a couple hundred bucks. That's a couple meals out, not even really. I get that many people dont see the point of certain building codes, or just don't think of the safety aspects. If you live in a cabin in the woods alone, go at it. But if one has a family, lives in a connected unit, etc, to me it is important to take this seriously.

Im prob a bit of a hypocrite here as I didn't need strobe but could have installed strobe. But at least in that case, I was concerned about the disorientation effect in an emerg. But the interconnect, to me that's invaluable. No downside that I can see. As is the dual power. I panic if I see my battery on my phone is low, no way I'm leaving a smoke detector battery to just run the risk.

Not meaning to attack you, this is just my opinion and as I mentioned, I'm usually more conservative in these things than many homeowners would be.
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chimaican wrote: Because some people tend to not change the batteries when required. A lot of those fires where people died and the Fire Marshall said there was non-working smoke alarms tend to be those where the batteries were not replaced. At least with hardwired, you know it will always be receiving power unless there is a power outage (and in those cases, there tends to be a battery back-up.) Hardwired, as in OPs case, also likely means it's interconnected (and in OPs case, it is interconnected), so if one goes off, they all do. In case of a fire or CO leak (especially at night when everyone is groggy), every few seconds can mean between life and death. It's better to have all the alarms go off especially if one sleep on the 2nd floor and the basement one is triggered. I would rather be alerted immediately rather than wait for the smoke/gas to travel upstairs.

It is better to be safe than sorry... and again, why be cheap on a device meant to save lives?
GTA12345 wrote: I'd think you could say this for a lot of code. Advantages of more stringent code over time will often be tiny and incremental.

Now, I don't think this applies in the case of op, but generally, if one has tenants, a rental, this ignoring of code would be opening up one to great liability. Even if we forget the human risk, it's great financial risk.

But even in a detached, if my neighbour had a fire that damages my home, and I find out his detectors were not to code, I'm calling a lawyer. I don't know if I'd be in the right, but I'm def checking it out.

End of day, it's a couple hundred bucks. That's a couple meals out, not even really. I get that many people dont see the point of certain building codes, or just don't think of the safety aspects. If you live in a cabin in the woods alone, go at it. But if one has a family, lives in a connected unit, etc, to me it is important to take this seriously.

Im prob a bit of a hypocrite here as I didn't need strobe but could have installed strobe. But at least in that case, I was concerned about the disorientation effect in an emerg. But the interconnect, to me that's invaluable. No downside that I can see. As is the dual power. I panic if I see my battery on my phone is low, no way I'm leaving a smoke detector battery to just run the risk.

Not meaning to attack you, this is just my opinion and as I mentioned, I'm usually more conservative in these things than many homeowners would be.
My point was that it's OPs house (the one he lives in) and he can decide what he wants to put into it, as long as he has something.
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
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We have the same issue, so do so many people with these units. I just called Kidde and they know. So far the best they can do is replacements. I want a refund and am waiting for a senior advisor to call me tomorrow.

The experience in the middle of the night is jarring.
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dgnr8 wrote: We have the same issue, so do so many people with these units. I just called Kidde and they know. So far the best they can do is replacements. I want a refund and am waiting for a senior advisor to call me tomorrow.

The experience in the middle of the night is jarring.
Switch to the First Alert / BRK ones.

Someone just posted in Hot Deals forum that the combo smoke/CO hardwire/interconnect is on sale starting tomorrow.

lowes-first-alert-smoke-carbon-monoxide ... a-2550302/
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10% off is cold, 50% off is warm, 75% off is hot, but FREE IS RFD!
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Ugh Kidde alarms are horrible for this malfunction. I had one that started ringing in the middle of the night. Every 20 minutes. After the second time I removed it. 20 minutes later again. I removed the battery. 20 minutes later it sounded AGAIN. WTF? Residual power in a capacitor maybe? I put it underneath a pillow. Still woke me up again 20 minutes later. Finally I filled a bucket with water and dropped it in. That finally shut it up.
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Dec 29, 2019
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Just had our Kidde alarms suddenly go off last night for what seems to be no apparent reason. They are only over a year old.

I think it was my basement one, since trying to silence that one gave me a "too much smoke detected! cannot silence" and i am thinking "you dumbass where!". So I left it after fanning it a bit and went up to a different alarm to try to silence it, and then it said CO was detected, which woah, that's actually scary!

But after some fanning it just turned off and now.. I don't know.

My brother had to grab an old Nest alarm and hang it up in the basement too so we can know for sure if the Kidde was just being nuts or not.

Glad to see this thread saying it's a known issue and I am not dying from phantom fires and unsmellable CO.
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Slightly off topic - has anyone ever seen a CO detector for an automobile? Something smaller that doesn't even necessarily need an alarm - just a LCD display would be adequate. Using a home CO detector in a car and having the alarm go off would not be good. I do remember seeing one meant for cars a while back, but it was well over $100. Hoping I can do better than that.
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SizzleChest wrote: Slightly off topic - has anyone ever seen a CO detector for an automobile? Something smaller that doesn't even necessarily need an alarm - just a LCD display would be adequate. Using a home CO detector in a car and having the alarm go off would not be good. I do remember seeing one meant for cars a while back, but it was well over $100. Hoping I can do better than that.
There's lots out there. Just google and you'll find plenty.

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