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Why do smoke detector batteries fail at 3 am?

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  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Why do smoke detector batteries fail at 3 am?
Posted by EdGrune on Thursday, October 21, 2021 7:27 AM

The ladder is behind 2 cars in the garage, no 9V batteries, and the hardware store doesn't open until 8.  

Beautiful full moon, though. 

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Thursday, October 21, 2021 7:33 AM

Maybe its because its a full moon.  Clown

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Thursday, October 21, 2021 7:52 AM

I've wondered the same.

-Greg

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Thursday, October 21, 2021 8:40 AM

It's simple.

The ladder is in the wrong place

You didn't stockpile enough batteries to run your alarm and transister radio for the next 20 years

If you had owned the store it wouldn't matter when it opened you would just go get some

Did you set the timer for the battery alarm to go off at a more convientment time or at least send a early warning message to your phone?  If this part was done, don't forget to charge your phone

If nothing else, mark it up to Murphy's law

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Northeast WA State
Posted by armornut on Thursday, October 21, 2021 9:16 AM

    Well it sounds like it is working as advertised, make very annoying noise at the most un expected and inconvenient time to alert you to danger. Since it technically is a false alarm....make wafflesWink

we're modelers it's what we do

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, October 21, 2021 9:37 AM

thats what long handled brooms are for.

 

bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Thursday, October 21, 2021 9:58 AM

Why did your smoke detector's battery fail at 3 A.M.? Because the Creator likes to play jokes on us! Why did my well pump fail on New Years eve? Why did my house's main sewer pipe get plugged by a dead squirrel on Christmas day? Some one must be enjoying these situations.

Your comments and questions are always welcome.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Thursday, October 21, 2021 10:16 AM

No 9 volts???

Whenever I need an AA battery for a remote or something I have an entire drawer full of AAAs.

Whenever I need an AAA I find an entire drawer full of AAs.

 

Somehow batteries mutate back and forth depending on what you need...

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Thursday, October 21, 2021 10:17 AM

EdGrune

The ladder is behind 2 cars in the garage, no 9V batteries, and the hardware store doesn't open until 8.  

Beautiful full moon, though. 

 

That is a good one, Ed.

A few months back I had a storm induced power outage. The whole neighborhood was knocked out. About a half hour into it my detectors started going off saying, Gas alert! Gas alert! I called a friend who is a firefighter and he said to call the fire department and have them come out and check it. He seemed concerned. I called the FD and they explained it is probably just the batteries, but they would come out if I wanted. I told them no, not at this time. So, I decided to wait it out until the power came back on.

I go to bed, trying to sleep, but good luck with the detectors doing that every few minutes. Well-- the power kicked in at about 11:30 PM. And guess what? The detectors kept chiming. S O B! Now I have to go get batteries. I hop in the car and try finding a place that was open. There were still some areas with no power, this was not an easy task. I found a gas station that had power, I go in, asked the guy where the 9v batteries are. The guy looked at me weird like I was gonna rob him! He was watching my every move. Maybe that is a line robbers use?  "Hey!  Where are the batteries!  Stick em up!"  He seemed relieved when I forked over the money and I walked out. Lol. Seriously dude. Do I look like a robber? Ok, I didn't shave for a few days but..

I go home and install the batteries. This is no easy task. The dectector upstairs is mounted on a high ceiling. I have a 6 foot ladder and I had to stand on the top step (not supposed to do that) and brace myself against the wall. I am sleepy eyed and not as spry as I used to be. I am praying I don't fall off and land at the bottom steps. Thank goodness the detector didn't fight me as I tried to install it.  I get them all installed and guess what? "Gas alert! Gas alert!

Dang it.  Now what.  I decide -- ok-- lets push the test button. The detectors start chiming on all the floors, talking back at each other. I am thinking... my neighbors are gonna wonder what the heck is going on over there in the middle of the night. After a minute of this-- halelujah-- it stopped. Shaking my head. 

That is what I get for not changing the batteries once a year. The detectors are hard wired but if the power goes out, the batteries kick in. 

THE END

 

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Thursday, October 21, 2021 10:29 AM

I've always been curious which hallucinogen the person who designed the 9v battery drawer on those things was using at the time.

 

-Greg

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Thursday, October 21, 2021 10:32 AM

Gamera

No 9 volts???

Whenever I need an AA battery for a remote or something I have an entire drawer full of AAAs.

Whenever I need an AAA I find an entire drawer full of AAs.

 

Somehow batteries mutate back and forth depending on what you need...

 

LOL. So true.

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Mansfield, TX
Posted by EdGrune on Thursday, October 21, 2021 10:44 AM

Bakster

That is what I get for not changing the batteries once a year. The detectors are hard wired but if the power goes out, the batteries kick in. 

We're urged to check/change batteries twice a year - DST start and DST end.  The latter is 2 weeks and a few days away.    Why couldn't the battery just wait!

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Thursday, October 21, 2021 11:08 AM

EdGrune

 

 
Bakster

That is what I get for not changing the batteries once a year. The detectors are hard wired but if the power goes out, the batteries kick in. 

 

 

We're urged to check/change batteries twice a year - DST start and DST end.  The latter is 2 weeks and a few days away.    Why couldn't the battery just wait!

 

Amen! 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Thursday, October 21, 2021 11:20 AM

Most smoke detectors today are hard wired and the battery is just back up in case the power fails.

If you change the batteries every six months (usually recommended at the daylight savings time change), you will be replacing batteries twice a year before the battery starts chirping.

The cost of 9 volt batteries is about $4-5 a piece. I have a two story house with attached garage, finished basement, 4 bedroom, 2½ bath and there are like five smoke detectors.

So for $20-25 bucks every six months I don't have an issue with the battery dying at an inopportune time of the day or night.

Also remember to replace your smoke detector every ten years, many of the newer units come with ten year sealed batteries.

October is Fire Prevention Month, so now is a good time to do this.

https://www.angi.com/articles/how-often-should-i-replace-hard-wired-smoke-detectors.htm

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: Earth
Posted by DiscoStu on Thursday, October 21, 2021 6:01 PM

My Brother is a Highschool science teacher.  He was asked this very question so he tasked his students with coming up with hypothesis.  The one that makes the most sense (At least to non-sciency me) is:

Temperature has an effect on batteries (Sure, why not) and that when a battery is on its last legs the temperature change at night from warm to cold takes the last little bit of juice and the beeping starts. 

As far as I know (I was NOT a science major.) it sounds like a reasonable hypothesis as I've always had the "Beepening" happen in the spring/fall months when we open our windows at night and don't run our heater.

Really miss Mythbusters as I feel they could solve this for us.

"Ahh the Luftwaffe. The Washington Generals of the History Channel" -Homer Simpson

  

 

  • Member since
    January 2013
Posted by seastallion53 on Thursday, October 21, 2021 6:19 PM
Murphys law.
  • Member since
    January 2010
Posted by rob44 on Thursday, October 21, 2021 6:51 PM

Stu is correct.

"Temperature has an effect on batteries (Sure, why not) and that when a battery is on its last legs the temperature change at night from warm to cold takes the last little bit of juice and the beeping starts. "

 

Low temperature will decrease the current output on a battery. A perfect example is how you car battery will have decreased current in the winter especially after a cold night.

  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Friday, October 22, 2021 7:16 AM

I have eleven smoke detectors in this house (hardwired with backup batteries), and I recently realized they were all 20 years old!  So I replaced them all with high quality units, all identical models, with 10 year backup batteries.  One way or another, I won't be here when they wear out, and it will be someone else's problem. 

Big Smile

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Friday, October 22, 2021 7:48 AM

Ha ha, we have a Facebook page for our gated community and someone posted the same question. It’s very annoying for those things to go off in the dead quiet of the night while one is sound asleep only to fall out of bed dazed and confused due to the extra loud beeps. And for those that have dogs you know how that goes!

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Friday, October 22, 2021 8:40 AM

The genius that built our house put the master room detector just outside the bathroom door.  My wife gets up at 4:30 am for work.  If she doesnt close the door the shower steam sets off the detector.  Love when that happens.  

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: North East of England
Posted by Hutch6390 on Friday, October 22, 2021 11:30 AM

seastallion53
Murphys law.

Over here we call it Sod's Law - same thing.  It's also responsible for making the phone ring when you get into the bath.

Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?

TakkaTakkaTakkaTakkaTakkaTakka

 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Fort Knox
Posted by Rob Gronovius on Friday, October 22, 2021 11:58 AM

Hutch6390

 

seastallion53
Murphys law.

Over here we call it Sod's Law - same thing.  It's also responsible for making the phone ring when you get into the bath.

 

In the US, there is a car insurance company that has an ad on TV where a James Bond type character is in the heat of an escape heading for a rooftop helicopter and his mother calls, talking about squirrels in the attic and nothing.

Mothers call at the worst time. I can be sitting in the living room for hours doing nothing but reading the newspaper, but when I go to start something, go to the bathroom or get into the car and drive, my mother instinctively knows it is a bad time to call...and then she calls.

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Nashotah, WI
Posted by Glamdring on Friday, October 22, 2021 4:57 PM

Bakster

 

 
EdGrune

The ladder is behind 2 cars in the garage, no 9V batteries, and the hardware store doesn't open until 8.  

Beautiful full moon, though. 

 

 

 

That is a good one, Ed.

A few months back I had a storm induced power outage. The whole neighborhood was knocked out. About a half hour into it my detectors started going off saying, Gas alert! Gas alert! I called a friend who is a firefighter and he said to call the fire department and have them come out and check it. He seemed concerned. I called the FD and they explained it is probably just the batteries, but they would come out if I wanted. I told them no, not at this time. So, I decided to wait it out until the power came back on.

I go to bed, trying to sleep, but good luck with the detectors doing that every few minutes. Well-- the power kicked in at about 11:30 PM. And guess what? The detectors kept chiming. S O B! Now I have to go get batteries. I hop in the car and try finding a place that was open. There were still some areas with no power, this was not an easy task. I found a gas station that had power, I go in, asked the guy where the 9v batteries are. The guy looked at me weird like I was gonna rob him! He was watching my every move. Maybe that is a line robbers use?  "Hey!  Where are the batteries!  Stick em up!"  He seemed relieved when I forked over the money and I walked out. Lol. Seriously dude. Do I look like a robber? Ok, I didn't shave for a few days but..

I go home and install the batteries. This is no easy task. The dectector upstairs is mounted on a high ceiling. I have a 6 foot ladder and I had to stand on the top step (not supposed to do that) and brace myself against the wall. I am sleepy eyed and not as spry as I used to be. I am praying I don't fall off and land at the bottom steps. Thank goodness the detector didn't fight me as I tried to install it.  I get them all installed and guess what? "Gas alert! Gas alert!

Dang it.  Now what.  I decide -- ok-- lets push the test button. The detectors start chiming on all the floors, talking back at each other. I am thinking... my neighbors are gonna wonder what the heck is going on over there in the middle of the night. After a minute of this-- halelujah-- it stopped. Shaking my head. 

That is what I get for not changing the batteries once a year. The detectors are hard wired but if the power goes out, the batteries kick in. 

THE END

 

 

I remember that storm, our power went out for a few seconds in it and I think it damaged either my TV or the cable box, even with the surge protector.  After the outage my TV now takes 2 seconds to load the channel whenever I change it, there used to be no lag at all before the storm.  Makes channel surfing a very tedious task!

Robert

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." 

  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by goldhammer88 on Friday, October 22, 2021 6:11 PM

wpwar11

The genius that built our house put the master room detector just outside the bathroom door.  My wife gets up at 4:30 am for work.  If she doesnt close the door the shower steam sets off the detector.  Love when that happens.  

 

Same thing with the wife.  She and the ex were besties.   Ex came down to visit for a few days.  The house we were in had the same setup

  Ex didn't close the door all the way, and the detector went off.  Ex came out of the bathroom at about mach 3.5, headed for the front door, soaking wet and starkers.

Only reason she didn't go out the way, wife and I were laughing so hard we about fell off the couch.  Ex was both pis*Ed and embarrassed.

  • Member since
    July 2005
Posted by alxdotcom on Friday, October 22, 2021 6:14 PM

I am Pele, the Goddess of FIRE! You think I leave these things to chance?

  • Member since
    June 2017
Posted by Chemteacher on Friday, October 22, 2021 11:34 PM
So true. One of my smoke detectors started beeping the other night at about 2:30. It did it only a couple of times. Of course, I only had 1 extra 9V battery. To the store I go…

On the bench: Revell-USS Arizona; Revell 1/25th Kenworth

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Northeast WA State
Posted by armornut on Saturday, October 23, 2021 2:29 AM

   I gave up on smoke detectors, we have dogs....a mouse farts across the street and it's all humans on deck.

we're modelers it's what we do

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Saturday, October 23, 2021 7:41 AM

goldhammer88

 

 
wpwar11

The genius that built our house put the master room detector just outside the bathroom door.  My wife gets up at 4:30 am for work.  If she doesnt close the door the shower steam sets off the detector.  Love when that happens.  

 

 

 

Same thing with the wife.  She and the ex were besties.   Ex came down to visit for a few days.  The house we were in had the same setup

  Ex didn't close the door all the way, and the detector went off.  Ex came out of the bathroom at about mach 3.5, headed for the front door, soaking wet and starkers.

Only reason she didn't go out the way, wife and I were laughing so hard we about fell off the couch.  Ex was both pis*Ed and embarrassed.

 

Hilarious 

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Saturday, October 23, 2021 8:31 AM

Glamdring
I remember that storm, our power went out for a few seconds in it and I think it damaged either my TV or the cable box, even with the surge protector.  After the outage my TV now takes 2 seconds to load the channel whenever I change it, there used to be no lag at all before the storm.  Makes channel surfing a very tedious task!

Yup, probably the same one. We had two storms this summer that knocked out power. The first one was the worst. Some areas lost power for several days. You don't realize how much you depend on it until it is gone. No power means no lights, no internet, no TV. All the usual diversions. So whats to do? Read by candle?  Blah.

 

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: North East of England
Posted by Hutch6390 on Saturday, October 23, 2021 10:50 AM

Rob Gronovius
I can be sitting in the living room for hours doing nothing but reading the newspaper, but when I go to start something, go to the bathroom or get into the car and drive, my mother instinctively knows it is a bad time to call...and then she calls.

Nice one, Rob - that's a great advert!  

Sorry I didn't reply sooner, my mum was on the phone...

Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?

TakkaTakkaTakkaTakkaTakkaTakka

 

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