Smoke detectors are literally life-saving devices. According to an NFPA study, 3 in 5 deaths related to fire accidents happen in homes that have no smoke alarms.
However, as useful as they may be, smoke detectors are very prone to malfunctions.
In this guide, we’ll look at a very common malfunction in smoke detectors, where its LED keeps blinking or flashing even after the alarm has been silenced and acknowledged.
There could be many reasons why your smoke detector is behaving in such a way, however, the most common reason is that the smoke detector’s control panel needs to be reset after an alarm for it to continue functioning normally.
Let’s look at other reasons which could cause a smoke detector to abnormally blink, and how to resolve the situation in each scenario.
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Reasons Why Smoke Detector Could Be Blinking Red After Alarm
There are many reasons why your smoke detector could be blinking red even after the alarm has been silenced.
In any case, the matter should be explored on an immediate basis as working smoke detectors are a crucial need in every home and a faulty smoke detector can potentially cause a lethal fire accident.
Before looking into the diagnosis, take note that all smoke detectors blink every once in a while in their normal functionality. This shows that they’re working perfectly. However, these blinks occur with breaks of at least 15 seconds.
If the blinking is quicker than that, the smoke detector may be indicating the following malfunctions:
1. Control Panel Reset
The most common cause of smoke detectors blinking red after an alarm has been acknowledged or silenced is because most smoke detectors need their control panels to be reset after each alarm.
Until the control panel has been reset, the smoke detector will NOT BE FUNCTIONING PROPERLY.
Scroll below on how to reset your smoke detector’s control panel. After the reset, your smoke detector should start working normally, with infrequent blinking that is its normal behavior.
2. Pre-Alarm Function
Many advanced smoke detectors have an additional feature called Pre-Alarm. This is a threshold set in a smoke detector, where if it’s detecting light smoke but isn’t sure there is an emergency, the Pre-Alarm LED will start blinking.
This LED blinking will be frequent, however, no alarm will be triggered. If the smoke detector keeps detecting smoke for some time, though. the Pre-Alarm function will stop and an alarm will be triggered.
On the contrary, if the smoke detector stops detecting smoke after some time, it will take it as a false alarm, and the Pre-Alarm function will stop with the smoke detector turning back to its normal functioning behavior (infrequent blinks).
If your smoke detector has a Pre-Alarm function and is blinking red without any alarm, there is no need to panic and it’s highly likely that it’s just going through a Pre-Alarm state.
On the safe side, however, it is recommended to call the manufacturer’s support and make sure.
3. Faulty Smoke Detector In Need Of Service
Lastly, the final reason why a smoke detector may be blinking red after an alarm is that it’s malfunctioning and is in need of service.
If this is the case, it is highly advised that you contact your smoke detector’s manufacturer and ask for a repairing service, or get it replaced.
But before contacting for support, you can try cleaning the smoke detector in case it’s choked with dust, or replacing its batteries.
How To Reset Smoke Detector Control Panel
If your smoke detector just triggered an alarm, it will need its control panel to be reset before getting back to its normal state.
Here are the steps to resetting an electric or battery-powered smoke detector’s control panel:
- Turn off the main circuit in your home.
- Take out the smoke detector and disconnect its connection cable.
- On the back of the detector, open the battery’s case and remove the batteries.
- Press the Test button of the smoke detector for 15 seconds. This may trigger a brief alarm, which will stop on its own in a little time.
- Reinsert the batteries, reconnect the smoke detector to its power cable, and place the detector back in its slot.
- Turn the main circuit back on.
The smoke detector will now resume functioning normally with infrequent blinks to show a normal state.
If that’s not the case, contact the smoke detector’s manufacturer.
How Often Should I Check My Smoke Detector?
Smoke detectors are life-saving devices, crucial for optimal functionality in every household.
However, because smoke detectors are very prone to malfunctions or faults, every smoke detector should be tested every 90 days at a minimum.
In this test, the smoke detector’s batteries need to be replaced, and a test run needs to be gone through where you should light up a couple of matchsticks, blow the fire out, and let the smoke course through around the detector. Then check if it triggers an alarm after detecting the smoke.
Before doing a test run, make sure you acknowledge your fire department authorities that you’re doing a test and if an alarm triggers, there is no need for support.
Shah Wajahat is a Computer Science grad and a Cisco CCNA certified Professional with 3+ years of experience in the Tech & software industry. Shah loves helping people with tech by explaining to layman audience technical queries in an easier way.