I’d been sick for a few days, so when I first heard the noise on Tuesday night, I puzzled over it for about five seconds and then fell asleep. But on Wednesday morning as I came out of the bedroom on my way to take Wylie out for his morning walk, I heard it again.
Strange, I wonder what that was? It definitely wasn’t Terry. For starters, she’s downstairs and more to the point, this sound had an “electronic” quality to it. Needing to get my day started, I decided to solve the mystery later and took Wylie out for his walk.
A bit more than a mile later, I started getting ready for work. And as I was coming out of the bedroom, there it was again.
Aha! It must be the smoke detector letting me know the battery’s running low! So I took the smoke detector down so I wouldn’t forget about it, removed the dead battery, and threw it out with the plan of stopping sometime during the day to buy a new one. I never did get away from the office at lunch and ended up working late as well (this, I’m sad to say, is pretty much the norm these days). So I didn’t get a chance to buy a new battery.
As I was getting ready to go to bed that evening, I was in the upstairs hallway and heard it again.
I thought that was pretty cool. Apparently the smoke detector holds a charge so it can still warn you, even if you have to take the battery out for a few days while you try to find time to replace it. How many other products have that much thought put into them? Not many I can think of!
Thursday morning, it was still going and I was quite impressed at how much the manufacturer cared about its customers.
That afternoon I got away from the office long enough to buy a package of batteries. Just the generic store brand, but they’ll last a long time. I got home that evening and once I’d taken Wylie out for his “Home from Work” walk, I went upstairs and put the new battery in.
I thought that was strange. Maybe it needed a little more time before whatever internal system came up to the proper voltage and then the chirper would turn itself off. So I had dinner, watched a movie, read some emails and took Wylie out for his evening walk.
I was headed up the stairs, giving some thought to calling it a night when it happened again.
Well now, this was starting to get annoying. A few years ago, the downstairs smoke detector started chirping for no apparent reason. Even with fresh batteries, it wouldn’t stop chirping. You do have to replace them every so often, so I’d taken it down and put up a new one. Perhaps the upstairs one was starting to go bad as well. Standing at the top of the stairs, I began weighing my options.
Hey, that wasn’t coming from the right direction to be the upstairs smoke detector! Son of a gun! Maybe it was the downstairs smoke detector that needed new batteries! That one uses AA cells and I have a good-sized stash of those that I use with the camera.
So I took the downstairs smoke detector off the ceiling, and replaced the batteries in that one too. Hah! Now I wouldn’t have to worry about changing the batteries in either detector for a while. Satisfied, I started to go upstairs.
At this point, I was starting to really wonder what was going on. Perhaps there was some thing beginning to smolder somewhere? More confusing, the sound didn’t seem to be coming from the right place to be the downstairs smoke detector either.
So I spent about five minutes downstairs, listening for the telltale chirp.
I was still confused, but at this point I’d pretty much ruled out the downstairs smoke detector as the culprit. Perhaps there was a robotic cricket that been programmed to add some confusion to my life? With thoughts like that going through my head, I went upstairs and as I passed beneath the upstairs smoke detector…
I stood there for a few minutes trying to decide where the sound was coming from. Maddeningly, the chirp was only a fraction of a second long and only happened once every 60 to 90 seconds.
I finally went back downstairs to the kitchen, got the step stool, and stood in the upstairs hallway with my head a foot from the smoke detector.
It definitely wasn’t the smoke detector. That was something of a relief, but that did leave me with the mystery: If it wasn’t the smoke detector, what was chirping? My home office is on the upstairs, and there’s plenty of stuff in there that could chirp (although none of it should be chirping). Maybe the computer’s battery backup needed to be replaced? That would be annoying since it hasn’t been terribly long since the last replacement, but still, better to find out now, before it failed. So I went into the office to listen.
It was still audible, but it didn’t seem to be coming from anything in the office. The source of the chirping was still a mystery, but at least I wouldn’t have to replace the battery back up right away. So I stood in the hallway again.
Maybe it was coming from the bedroom? Again, there were a few things in there that could chirp, but nothing that should. Maybe my cell phone was going nuts? Maybe there really was a robotic cricket? So I stood just inside the bedroom door and waited.
It wasn’t coming from the bedroom. That didn’t leave much. I kind of doubted it was my razor (for starters, since the only outlet is on top of the mirror, I don’t leave it plugged in when it’s not in use). Maybe there was something radically weird happening with the compact fluorescent bulbs in the bathroom? Yes, I actually stood in the bathroom to listen.
That eliminated both the light bulbs and the razor as sources of the chirp. All that was left was the guest bedroom.
A few of my friends have occasionally made comments in which they referred to me as being some sort of practical joker. I can’t really speak to the accuracy of those claims, but if they are true, then it’s also true that I come by it honestly. My parents are both known to play jokes on their children and it’s well known throughout the family that the best way to tell whether Dad’s pulling your leg is to look to see whether his lips are moving.
Mom and Dad came down to visit in late January. They’re good people and I love them dearly; but I think it’s safe to say that anyone who’s known them for more than three minutes (which is to say, long enough for Dad to start telling one of his tall tales) will certainly understand that at this point, I was beginning to seriously consider the possibility that they were playing a practical joke on me. On a previous visit, Mom left a foot-long plastic lizard buried halfway down through my sock drawer. It therefore wasn’t hard to imagine the possibility that she was an accomplice to Dad leaving some sort of diabolical electronic chirping device hidden in the guest bedroom.
So I stood in the middle of the guest bedroom and I waited. It wasn’t long before my patience was rewarded.
It was definitely louder. No wonder I hadn’t noticed the chirping before, I keep the guest room door closed when it’s not in use. Trying to narrow down the location of the noisemaker, I went and stood by the closet.
It was still loud, but it wasn’t coming from the closet. Perhaps it was over by the window?
Not quite as loud as the closet, it must be closer to the foot of the bed.
The desk! It was coming from my old desk! I moved a few things off the top of the desk and I listened.
Definitely the desk, but it wasn’t anything on the top. Maybe one of the side shelves?
No. Nothing on the shelves was making that sound. Could it be something under the desk?
Yes! It was definitely something under the desk! I moved an old shirt and listened again.
A few years ago, the downstairs smoke detector started chirping for no apparent reason. Even with fresh batteries, it wouldn’t stop chirping. You do have to replace them every so often, so I’d taken it down and put up a new one. The problem is, some smoke detectors contain a small amount of radioactive material. Not enough to pose a health risk, even in your house, but they still don’t want you to chuck it into the landfill where it’ll end up in the groundwater.
I’d put the old smoke detector aside until I could figure out the correct way to dispose of it. Amazingly, several years later, the batteries still had enough juice in them that it was still making the periodic chirping sound that had convinced me to replace it in the first place.
This leaves one final mystery: Why the heck didn’t I take the batteries out in the first place?
Addendum: The new smoke detector in the downstairs portion of the house also has a carbon monoxide detector. On top of that, instead of just making a shrieking sound that’ll scare you to death, the new detector features a recording of a woman’s voice which in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide build up will calmly tell you to evacuate the premises immediately.
Dad predicts that I’m going to end up like a friend of his who awoke in the middle of the night to hear a strange woman talking to him about replacing batteries.
Image via Wikipedia by user Tumi-1983 under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
8 thoughts on “chirp”
*lol* I’ve had this happen to me! Well, the chirping, not the forgotten the smoke detector. Room to room and back again… chirp! Even called the repair folks at the apartment complex. Never did find what it was, but it did stop after about a week.
Oh my goodness, thanks. I think I might have your exact problem. I’ve been tracking this frigging chirp all over the house. At one time actually thought it might be a cricket (the chirp sound is quite similar), but the frequency was wrong: too slow. No self-respecting cricket would chirp once every thirty seconds in a warm place. I think I know — it’s in a box I made up for the Salvation Army.
I’m so relieved to know I’m not alone in doing that kind of thing! 🙂
I did not know the hard wired had a battery until researching what could be causing that chirp. Replaced the battery – still chirped. Reset and did a test…ahhhhhhh silence!
Huh. I didn’t know there was a battery in the hard-wired ones either. I guess it makes sense though – you’ll still want the detector to work if a fire starts while the power is out.
I guess that’s my “something new” for the day.
There is something chirping in my bedroom right now. It’s freaking me out. It’s been chirping for hours – I cannot identify the source. But it’s not a smoke or carbon monoxide detector, because those don’t go “chirp…. chirp…. chirp… chirp…. ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-chchchchchchchchchirp”… What do I do?!
Well, this is the right time of year for crickets…
Thank you so very, very much. Last night I came home to a *chirp*, and about every 10-15 minutes another. The time between shortened to about 5-8, but that was while I was pulling batteries and chasing sounds, trying to find the exact upstairs detector that was going bad.
The entire time walking past the CO detector plugged in near my ankles…
O.K. here is a free laugh, I took apart the the largest, and most ancient hardwired unit above the stairs, yet could still swear that the sound was coming from the empty cavaty left behind.
I know, I told myself many times, with source of sound, those wires are just wires, but my mind was barely able to keep up with the angry things I was already yelling at it.
Mind you the CO unti is directly beneath this one.
So to wrap this up, one hand inspecting the wires only to find out painfully how poorly they were installed later, problem solved.
I thank you, I searched google and this came up and hit home.
I’d shake your hand but my right side is still numb and tingling.
Comments are closed.