The blinking red light on smoke detector indicators means that there is an issue with your battery or smoke detectors ability to respond to smoke in the air. The fix for these issues ranges from the batteries needing to be changed, to a complete restart needed to resume functionality. It can be difficult to discern exactly what the issue is with a specific type of smoke detector. The most tried and true way to ensure that all is working as it should, is to run through its testing sequence.
For a single unit smoke detector, they will require pressing the test button for 5 to 10 seconds, which will run a dry test through your system’s detector. This will make sure that there is nothing blocking or otherwise causing the smoke detector to return a false positive.
If your red light continues to go off, even after you have already reset your system, it means there is a malfunction within your detector sensor’s unit. This might be due to debris or residue still residing within the sensing chamber of your detecting unit. This does not inherently mean the end of your unit, as cleaning it with a duster or leaving it for a couple of hours to let the system reacclimate.
Another way to tell if the system is working correctly is to check if the red light is continuously blinking on and off, as in some models this can be an indicator to alert the user that the system has not yet purged the residue from a previous interaction with smoke particles.
Depending on your geographical location and your local weather patterns, as well as the industries that exist around your home, there is a measurable effect on your smoke detectors. In fact, there have been instances in which residents close to oil fields or refineries or those that live in big cities, have had smog affect the accuracy of their in-home smoke alarms.
If you followed the reset process without issue and the smoke detector continues to flash red or chirp from time to time, is possible that your smoke detector system senses something off in the air, and as such is trying to alert you. Checking around the room is your best bet to figure out the culprit.
The first place to look are the electrical outlets, especially those that are over encumbered by too many wires or devices. If not that, make sure to check your ventilation system, as in the winter your system could get blocked by biological or other debris and heat up until those materials begin to char.
However, if you try to ensure the cleanliness of both the air quality and your unit and there is still no change of the red LED light on your unit, it might mean that the system needs to be completely replaced. This might seem daunting to some, but the benefits outweigh the potential inconveniences from chancing your smoke detector.
Granted the odds of smoke inhalation negatively affecting you or your family might be slim, it is still something to consider daily. Depending on a person’s respiratory condition, symptoms can occur within as little as 24 hours. Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, outright damage to the windpipe and breathing passages are just some of the damages that can occur from smoke inhalation.
In fact, Dr. Taryn E. Travis, from MedStar Health, a large hospital organization in the United States; attributes most deaths from home fires to be due to smoke inhalation. With these facts laid out, taking some extra time replacing your home’s smoke detectors might just ensure the longevity of yourself and your family.