Monday, January 19, 2015

The Story Of The Little Smoke Detector That Had Issues

So on last Friday, when I returned home from Disney this-n-that, I decided to sit a spell in the den. And that's when I started hearing it - the beep that signals that a new battery is needed in a smoke detector. Now don't think that I had that figured out all of a sudden. First I had to listen to ascertain what kind of sound I was hearing. Then I had to figure out where the sound was coming from - the television or my actual surroundings. Then I had to figure out that since the beep (every minute or so) was indeed coming from my actual surroundings, what the beep was, as in an alarm of some sort or who knows what. Finally I figured it out, that it was a smoke detector detecting an inferior battery. And I even figured out which smoke detector it was - the one in the mechanical room, aka the den hvac room, aka "the factory" where Lynnette and Maribeth put items they deem should no longer be in Lindley and Everley's immediate vicinity (aka Lala's house).

Anyhow, back to batterygate. Once I had ascertained which smoke detector it was, I knew I probably I did not have the correct batteries. This was because several years ago, there was a smoke detector/battery incident that was quite traumatic since (a) I was out of town, (b) the smoke detector was hooked up to the alarm system and there was the issue that changing the batteries would send the fire department to my house but only if the family members who were at my house could remember or find the password to the security system which they would never be able to do since I possibly couldn't remember it either. And if all that weren't traumatic enough, that smoke detector used batteries that were (a) only available on select days during select hours and (b) were only sold out of someone's trunk in the alley behind Wal Mart. I'm not sure how it all turned out - I think the alarm people turned off the alarm until I could get home. And they probably never turned it back on. Oh well, at least it kept the hook and ladder trucks away.

Anyhow, back to the current smoke alarm saga. Since it was at night and I had been out of town for several, several days, and since I was tired, and since it was dark, I decided not to go in search of the needed batteries. Did I mention that this smoke detector is actually hard-wired into the electrical system? And did I mention that we had our electrical system inspected the week before we left for Disney? Anyhow, the good news is that the bleeping (in every sense of the word) smoke detector is located in one end of our ranch-style house, and I sleep in the other, so we were simpatico for the night.

Saturday I got up, inspected the smoke detector, and discovered that is used the regular 9V batteries. This is something I could replace - if I only had some in the house (by the way, did you know that 9V batteries can burn down your house if they're not stored correctly? Google it and find out! That's the end of my public service announcement). Since it was daylight, I went to Wal Mart for some stuff and bought a four pack of Everyready (or something) 9Vs. I came home, replaced the battery, and everyone was happy.  For about 12 hours when the beeping started again.

I decided that perhaps (a) I had a bad battery in the pack, or (b) the smoke detector was using up battery juice like I devour cranberry juice. So I replaced the battery with its brother battery from the pack. And we were happy again. For about 12 more hours.

By this time it was Sunday morning and the day of Lindley's birthday party. I did not think that a beeping smoke detector would add to the ambiance of a "Frozen" party, so when I made my Kroger run, I bought an expensive Whatever Battery than came one to a pack. I had decided that the reason the other batteries are sold in pack of four is because they are crummy. Certainly a battery that is sold by itself must be stupendous. And it was, because the beeping stopped. For another 12 hours.

By this time, the party was over and we were enjoying a take-out dinner with all the family. Lynnette's parents were there, and her dad Melvin volunteered to check out the smoke detector. He replaced the battery with another brother from the four pack. He also tested (we are so cool that we have a battery tester) the used batteries and found them to be perfectly fine. Whatever. The smoke detector was quiet. For another 12 hours.

By now it's Monday morning. I call the people who did the electrical inspection to come out and check the stupid smoke detector. They tell me they can get someone out this afternoon. I let the stupid smoke detector keep beeping until the dude gets there (this would be all-day beeping, which meant I avoided the den at all costs, even thought the plumbing was getting its inspection today, and I'm sure the dudes for that were wondering why the he** I didn't do something about the beeping). Anyhow, the electrical dude looks at the smoke detector, resets something, looks at the battery, pushes something and puts it back in place.  He says the detector is being triggered by a combustion. Which is interesting since I must be having a lot of combustions. He said that if it kept happening, to call them back and they would replace it - for around $85. Anyhow, the beeping did stop - do you think he fixed it? He did - for about 12 hours.

I got up to let the cat out and guess what - the beeping was going again. By this time I was channeling Phoebe from "Friends":

So, yes, I took out the battery. And unhooked it from the wall. Tomorrow I will throw it in the trash and go in search of a new smoke detector to replace this crazy one. And I'm sure I can find one for less than $85.

I just hope it's not the 12-hour smoke detector kind ...
Today is a gift because: Plumbing dudes and planning new plumbing; Electrical dude and his sorta-help; Molly's and Steve's safe flight home

1 comment:

Neville said...

The phantom fires strike again! I have had this issue before and got so frustrated by trying to figure it out that I just deemed that the next time it happens, I'm just throwing the thing out. It is not worth the headache, and yes, I bet you can find one cheaper than what the guy quoted you at the store.

Neville @ Electrical Experts