Sunday, 19 March 2017

How Strange Life Can Be Sometimes...Does Anyone Else Have This Problem?

Amongst my family and friends, our smoke alarm tales have been legendry.

Let me explain....I had three smoke alarms, one on each floor and all attached electrically as well as with battery backup (over 20 years ago at the time of our loft extension, it was compulsory for them to be electric). So if one went off, all the others would automatically go off too. 

For years we have had trouble with our smoke alarms going off in the middle of the night (never during the day) and apparently for no reason at all.  Mr KT and I would go through a ritual of changing batteries and vacuuming them (yep - in the middle of the night) in a vain attempt to stop them and most of the time it never did stop them. The last resort was to take batteries out and turn the electricity off at the mains, just until the morning so that we could get some sleep! As you can imagine, the noise of all three going off was deafening!

 Even then on one occasion a few years ago, they still went off for a while with all batteries taken out and the electricity turned off!! So how can that be? At that point we got an electrician in to check them out and he was baffled....couldn't explain it other than the smoke alarms could be faulty..or that we may have a spook:) 

So we had them all replaced with new ones but the same thing kept happening all over again, just once in a while. By then, we kind of learned to live with it....we didn't have a choice but I hated the damn things!

If you Google this topic, there does appear to be one or two other people with this problem. It has been suggested there could be a draught of wind, insects and extreme cold as a cause. Well, of course that is possible. But on an ordinary night, with no wind, not particularly cold in a centrally heated house, with no visible signs of insects....and no smoke, the cause is a real conundrum. And for the past couple of years, my alarms had gone quiet anyway.

But then, yep you've guessed it, one Saturday night just recently the alarms started again...all of them,  at 2.00 in the morning. Luckily one of my sons was randomly staying here that night, so at least I didn't have to tackle them on my own:) However, after changing the batteries and much swearing, we decided to leave them going and eventually after some considerable time, the damn things did go quiet. the morning, I decided that I could no longer put up with this, and I dreaded having to deal with them on my own.  So a very sympathetic (but I must say a little sceptic) builder friend came around and offered to dismantle the smoke alarms and put three new ordinary battery operated smoke alarms in so would not be attached to the electricity. As he took each alarm down, he did all that was necessary to the now redundant electrical wire ends, and all old alarms were put in a plastic bag by the back door, minus their batteries, ready for me to take to the local tip. The builder friend was just showing me how to change the battery in the three new alarms which were by then in situ....when not one but two of the old alarms started going off in the plastic bag!!! Well I am glad they did whilst my builder friend was there, as no-one would  have believed me. He was stunned, shocked and lost for words, and agreed with me that it just wasn't possible.  As they continued he offered to get a mallet to them to shut them up....ha ha, and as soon as he said that, they stopped. I kid you not!

All seemed well for a few weeks and I was very happy with my new non electric, just battery operated smoke alarms. 

But then, yep you've guessed it....late the other evening, the alarm on the main landing went off. I rushed around the house checking for smoke, absolutely petrified. And then it stopped. And then it started again. By this point, my sense of humour had completely left me and I was just contemplating removing the battery, plus as a last resort taking it down and shoving it in a bucket of water....when it stopped. 

I dunno...perhaps it is a mischievous spook after all:)

Anyone else have this problem?


Giac said...

Hello Celia,
How bizarre! I'm happy I never had that happen to me. How utterly bizarre!
Good luck with that!
Big hug

Sheila said...

We went around to every smoke detector in the house, changed batteries, pulled them out...generally went nuts at two in the morning. (Why is it always two or three in the morning when this happens?)

Then my husband went online.

When we changed the batteries in the carbon monoxide detector the noise finally stopped.

KT Miniatures said...

Certainly is bizarre Giac.

Sheila, yes I have a separate carbon monoxide detector too which bleeps when it needs batteries changing. A few years ago our elderly next door neighbours had a massive carbon monoxide leak from their antiquated boiler and luckily their alarm saved them. So we promptly bought one of those alarms too, as up until then we hadn't bothered about carbon monoxide. One just never knows. Celia