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Question DetailsAsked on 11/16/2014

Smoke detector chirping. It is hardwired and the alarm does work OK when tested. How do I stop it?

First Alert SA 1839, 27 years old. I twisted it off of its ceiling mount to see if there were any accesses to batteries that might need to be replaced and it is now hanging by the wires and still functioning I believe as its light is still on, the alarm responds when the button is pushed, and it is still chirping. It says on the case do not open, return for service if it has any problems. No apparant way to access any battery if that is the problem. First Alert web site does not recognize this model and their customer support does not work on weekends.
It is installed near our gas heater that has recently been turned on for the first time this year.

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4 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Glad to hear you found the problem - and that I am not the only person that has happened to. Had one neighbor call me on a chirping garage alarm that could not be silenced by an electrician but he did not have a replacement with him to install at that time. I went through same thing you did - removed the battery, finally took it off the wall and totally disconnected it from the house wiring, still heard the chirping so I figured it was just a capacitor keeping it chirping a few more times but since a new battery did not silence it, must be bad. Set it down, put up new alarm - still heard chirping every few minutes ! Was beginning to think house was possessed or, like other commenter said, it was detecting burned dust particles from the water heater or furnace - until I took the old alarm out of the house to go with me to eventually be disposed of at the hazardous waste facility, and owner said still heard the chirping !

Looked for other alarms - nothing nearby. Finally got out my stethoscope out and tracked the exact source of the sound - turned out an old battery-operated alarm had been put up fastened to a stud in the basement right behind the garage alarm location, probably when the house was being remodeled for sale a year or so before, and was not removed when they closed in the wall. All is now quiet.

BTW - the SA1839 was actually made by BRK and marketed under several licensee names, including First Alert - most of them were recalled in 1992 - here is info link from CPSC -

I would sort of doubt if you could still get a replacement at this time if yours is one of the recalled models. BTW - on the chirping or false sounding of alarm, especially with ionization detectors like that one and with combined type detectors - one should blow the detector out vigorously with canned air (NOT compressed air if it comes off a compressor that used compressor oil) each time you change the batteries, because dust buildup will eventually cause false alarms or self-diagnosis defect chirping.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Your gas heater needs to be serviced + monitored for off gassing/particles ASAP. Report back these findings for further advice, if any needed.

Answered 5 years ago by tgivaughn


I wrote this question and am embarassed to say that I was in error. After removing the alarm the noise remained, so I checked the nearby closet with a water heater and the chirping was actually coming from its water overflow sensor and replacing its batteries got rid of the chirping. Also contacted First Alert and they recommended replacing their detectors every 10 years so i might do that as it is now 27 years old.

Thanks for the first response.

Answered 5 years ago by Guest_9434845


OK- rereading my response I don't see why the thumbs down - could you please explain what was wrong / inadequate about my response, so I can improve my responses in the future.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


LCD - Not sure where the thumbs down came from. I wrote the original question and am very impressed with your response. Lots of useful info. Thanks.

Answered 5 years ago by Guest_9434845

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