Susan's Blog

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Things That Go Beep in the Night

I am already onto coffee cup #2 and still bleary. Why? I took Ambien at 3 a.m. Why? Because there was a beep that kept going off at seemingly unpredictable intervals (no, it was not Max’s new Annoy-a-tron, but how ironic, if I were awake I would frown). Why? Because one of our many smoke detectors had an expired battery.

So here’s my question, which I got from Ned, who asked it very pithily and pissedly at 3 a.m. last night:

Why the F don’t our smoke detectors have little lights that stay on once the battery is dying, so that you don’t have guess which detector it is that has expired?

And I would like to add:

Why do smoke detector batteries always expire at 3 a.m., the freak-out hour?

We had to stand for several minutes under each smoke detector, watching and listening, neck craned upwards, eyes pulling shut, waiting for the beep. Then, when we’d determined that no, this one was NOT it, we would move on to a different one. I fantasized for a moment about assigning a detector to each boy, but I figured I was the parent and and I had to let them sleep.

Finally Ned discovered it was the CO2 detector. Of course I asked worriedly, “You sure it’s not a real CO2 problem?” But he didn’t even answer and I might not have even asked it. It was so late and we were so tired that we might have eaten the batteries and thought we were dreaming of bad candy.

I got back into bed, a little worried that sleep would be spoiled by being awake a little too much at 3 a.m. but next thing I knew I smelled coffee.


You can always avoid this by getting those electric ones that just tap into your house’s electricity.

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 9:50 am

Man I hate that (or used to anyway). It’s worth it to just drag the ladder out and spend a few hours replacing ’em all, cause there’s sure to be more.

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 10:28 am

CO, not CO2.

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 10:43 am

The EXACT same thing happened to me over the weekend. We ran around like nuts trying to “catch” the right one. I finally removed the batteries from ALL the smoke detectors… and still heard a beep! Turned out it was the carbon monoxide detector plugged into an oulet in the front hall.

What are the odds?

A from B πŸ˜‰

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, December 20, 2006 at 11:12 am

When this happens here:

1) Frantic checking to make sure there’s not actually something smouldering somewhere

2) Identification of the detector in question (and we can usually figure it out by putting one adult in one certain spot, the other in another certain spot, and triangulating)

3) Replacing the battery in the one that’s flaking (done by DH because I’m too short to reach things on 9′ ceilings on any ladder we own that he’s willing to let me climb on)

4) Replacing the rest of them within a week

And we use Benadryl, but not after 2:30AM. πŸ˜›

— added by Julia on Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 2:20 pm

too funny! Same exact thing happened to us about a week ago. At first, I just kept waking up periodically in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, which I usually don’t do. Then I started waking up and hearing a beep. I kept thinking it was a battery in one of Kevin’s toys going bad, so I just went back to sleep. The next day I’m at work and my wife calls saying that she keeps hearing a beep and she thinks it’s one of the detectors. I put 2 and 2 together about the night before. She then calls again, sort of a angry panick, and says the thing is beeping every few seconds now. She frantically gets a screwdriver and a ladder. It happens to be the CO/smoke detector. We have a smoke detector hard wired in each of the 4 bedrooms as well as a CO/smoke detector in the hallway and a detector on each floor, but all have a battery backup so if the electricity goes out. Anyway, she was able to replace the battery and end the madness. She suggested we replace the batteries in all the detectors and I agreed, but we never got to it (too busy as usual with everything else). Thanks for making me laugh (even though I know you and my wife weren’t laughing at the time).
PS: we have one child and he is a 4 and a half year old boy with autism. He is the cutest thing in the world. We also do ABA about 35 hours per week through the program at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism. Take care, and thanks for writing. Reading your writing is like going to the support group that I rarely get to these days.


— added by Anonymous on Friday, December 22, 2006 at 11:10 am

Our detectors go off and the batteries seem to be good. What’s the reason.

— added by Anonymous on Friday, December 29, 2006 at 9:38 am

Interesting, I thought you had provided an answer to the beep I have been hearing all the time. Although I remember hearing whilst outside on the roof.

I’m still confused as to why I hear this single beep at various times and locations.

It’s nothing I’m carrying either.

Any ideas, apart from I must be going a little crazy. Just heard it then before I sent this…that’s 2 for the day already.

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at 8:47 pm