It Is So On, Smoke Detectors

Saturday morning I was merrily minding my own business at home when I hear a loud chirp from the basement.  I stopped in the kitchen to try to decipher where the sound was coming from.  After minute, I heard the chirp and placed it to be coming from the basement smoke detector.  After last Sunday’s smoke detector fiasco I’m a little wary of the alarms.  After eyeing it for a moment I decided it was chirping because the battery was dying.  I pulled the battery out and went to check on the laundry.

When I walked into the laundry room (which is also the bathroom with a shower) I was surprised to be hit a surprising amount of heat.  “Huh,” I thought to myself, “Usually the heat from the shower doesn’t linger this long.”  However, when I went to put another load of laundry in the washer I realized that the detergent I pulled from the cupboard above the washer and dryer was hot.  Likewise, there was lint flying everywhere in the aforementioned cupboard.  Really confused at this point, I quickly discovered that the pipe that pulls the heat from the dryer was no longer hooked up to take the heat to outside the house.  Instead, it had fallen in the cupboard and simply kept the heat into the laundry room.  Now mildly irritated that I didn’t have a way to dry the clothes I heard IT again.  The insistent CHIRP from the basement smoke detector that I had already removed the battery!

I stomped upstairs to dig through our extra battery stash in hopes of finding an extra 9-volt battery.  Lots of AA, no 9-volts.  Meanwhile, I could hear chirps coming from the detector.  In a fit of rage that I couldn’t turn off the smoke detector for the second time in a week I called my husband at the church to see if there was an extra battery there.  Dear husband could tell over the phone that I was upset (or it could have been me ranting about incompetent detectors and worthless dryers), so he wrapped up his work and headed home.

As my husband returned home my father-in-law pulled up to our house.  Both men stood underneath the offensive smoke detector for about two minutes when suddenly every alarm in the house started going off.  All three of us were completely flabbergasted by this turn of events and despite better knowledge from the previous Sunday’s escapade we still tried pulling batteries out from the detectors to silence them.  It still didn’t work.

After about three minutes of the alarms screaming throughout the house I grabbed a flashlight, went downstairs to the breaker box, and flipped the main breaker.  Silence and darkness now encompassed the house.  I yelled upstairs that I had cut the power and told my husband and father-in-law that I was going to turn it back on.  For a brief moment after I flipped the breaker on there was nothing but normal electrical functioning.  Then the alarms kicked on again.

For a second time that day the three of us raced around the house trying to figure out how to silence the detectors.  We still weren’t successful.  After another five minutes of listening to the blaring alarms, I decided it was time to cut the power again.  The house was again encompassed in silence and darkness.  At this point I told my husband that he needed to call the trustees of the house.  As he called my father-in-law explored our new house.  “This is a really nice place,” he said.

“Thanks, it’s even better when we have electricity,” I replied dryly.  After a few minutes, on of the trustees returned my husband’s phone call.  We were told to first see if there was a separate breaker for only the alarms.  The trustee also told us that the detectors could be triggered by excess condensation in the basement.  Due to the ill-performing dryer, the heat in the basement had fogged up all the windows–most certainly extra condensation down there.

Since there wasn’t a separate breaker for the smoke detectors, we then started opening the basement windows.  After a few minutes the fog had cleared and we decided to try turning on the electricity again.  I flipped the switch and held my breath.  To our relief the alarms stayed off.  However, for the next hour they occasionally chirped for some unknown reason.

I don’t know what the smoke detectors’ problems are and why they refuse to silence.  All I know is that I am now at war with them.  The next time they insist on going off unceasingly, they may very well find themselves pulled from the ceiling and chucked into the street because it is so on.   

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