The beeping noise is most likely coming from a device that has a low battery, including smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors.
The most common reasons for a chirping or beeping noise in your house is from low batteries in devices like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, backup battery modules for your telephone and cable modem, or a carbon monoxide detector that has reached its end of life and needs to be replaced,
Finding the device that’s chirping is not always easy. It can sometimes take days to find it because the high-pitched chirping noise makes it hard to pinpoint exactly where it’s coming from.
A quick chirping noise is almost always coming from a device that has a low battery, including:
- Smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Battery backup modules for your telephone or cable modem
Chirping smoke and (CO) monoxide detectors
The most common source for chirping sounds is from smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You may have one of the following or a combination of sensors installed in your home:
- Smoke detectors: mounted on the ceiling.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide combination detectors: mounted on the ceiling.
- Carbon monoxide detectors: can be mounted on the ceiling, on the wall, or be plugged into an electrical wall outlet.
There may only be a few battery-operated smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in some homes. But in most homes, you will find hard-wired smoke and CO detectors located in every bedroom, hallway, and living area.
Finding the chirping noise
As a security system technician, we get hundreds of calls a year from frustrated homeowners that can’t find the chirping noise in their house, so I have a lot of experience with this. You can spend the next few hours or days trying to find the problem or do the following:
If you can’t figure out where the chirping noise is coming from, and since it’s probably time to replace all the smoke detector batteries anyway, perform the following steps:
Call an electrician or handyman if you don’t feel comfortable with the following steps.
- Find out where all of the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are located in your home (bedrooms, hallways, and living areas).
- Twist them counterclockwise to remove them from the wall or ceiling
- If they have wires attached to them, detach the wiring harness from the detector (The wires are connected to your home’s electrical system, do not pull on the wires, only the clip that is connected to the smoke detector).
- Note where each smoke or CO detector was removed from so you can put them back in the same order
- Take them down from the wall or ceiling and bring them into one room and close the door
- Wait and see if the chirping noise is now in that room or if there is still another device in the house that’s chirping.
If it is chirping every 30 to 60 seconds, it should be easy to find the culprit, but if it is chirping every few minutes or every few hours in some cases, then it’s going to take a long time to figure out where the noise is coming from.
- Once you find the chirping smoke or CO detector, it’s time to replace the batteries in all of the detectors, not just the one that’s chirping.
- The battery can be found on the front, back, or on the side of the detector, located under a pull-out tab.
- After you replace the batteries put them back on the wall or ceiling and reattach the wires if they are hard-wired.
- After you replace the battery, you will need to press and hold the test button on the front of the detector to clear the low battery memory.
- After pressing the test button, the smoke or CO detector will start beeping. In some cases, all of the detectors in the house might start beeping for 10 to 20 seconds.
- This is normal. After the detectors have completed the self-test, they should stop chirping.
- If the chirping doesn’t stop then you might have to press and hold the test button again to perform a second test
The carbon monoxide detector does not stop chirping after the battery is replaced
If the chirping unit is a carbon monoxide detector and does not stop chirping after the battery is replaced, then it is probably reached its end of life and needs to be replaced.
Carbon monoxide detectors have a shelf life of only 5-10 years; you can press and hold the test button one more time to see if the chirping stops, but If it doesn’t, then it is time to replace the unit with a new one.
I’ve provided a link for you to buy smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on amazon.
Chirping noise coming from a telephone or cable modem
Your telephone or cable tv provider may have installed a battery backup module for your phone or cable modem. These modules are usually located where the phone or cable line enters the house, usually in the basement or garage.
On the battery backup unit, you will find some lights indicating the status of power and battery levels. If the battery indicator is red, that is a sign that the battery needs to be replaced.
You can call the phone or cable company to come out and replace the battery, or you can replace it yourself.
The phone or cable company will typically charge you about $100-$125 to send a technician out to the house to replace the battery, so it might pay to try to replace it yourself.
Open the battery pack and look for the model number of the battery. The battery is usually rated for 12 volt 7amps; it’s a large battery about four inches wide and six inches long.
You can find the batteries you need online; click here to check prices on Amazon.