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November 28, 2016 / paulio10

10-year battery smoke detectors are horrible

We bought two smoke detectors that boasted a 10-year-battery for our house about 2 years ago, and installed them in place of the old yellowed-plastic ones that our newly purchased home came with. This house was built in the 1980’s, but it was new to us about 2 years ago.  The theory with 10-year-battery smoke detectors is: all smoke detectors really only last about 10 years, so having a 10-year battery means you never have to replace the battery – just replace the whole smoke detector around the 10 year mark. Easy, right?

Well, 2 years into owning these units, the one in our master bedroom started beeping non-stop for no reason at 2AM, the shrill piercing sound blasting us awake from a sound sleep.

I took the unit down from the wall (after fetching a chair I could stand on) and tried pressing the one and only button this thing had (labeled “test”) to turn it off, but it wouldn’t stop beeping. I single clicked it, double clicked it, held it in for 30 seconds, nothing would shut it up! And, there was no battery compartment to open, this was a completely sealed unit – because, of course, when you have a 10 year battery in a 10 year smoke detector, there’s no reason the owner would ever need to pull out the battery, right?

So I took the continuously screeching smoke detector in my sleep-induced state to the other end of the house, into the garage, found a hammer, and smashed it into 1000 tiny fragments with a single blow.  It stopped beeping just as I felt a plastic shard zipping across my cheek at high-speed.  I hit it over, and over, and over, and over, as my brain said, “you really should be wearing goggles to do this”.  I paused for a couple breaths and then I hit it some more.

Then I went back inside and staggered back to bed.

The next morning, being super irritated at how dumb this product was, I went upstairs to check on the other one that I had bought at the same time.  As I pulled it off the wall to look at it, it started beeping!  And beeping and beeping.  It would not stop.

I had to smash that one with a hammer, too, right next to the stringy electronic remains of the first one spread out over my garage floor that I hadn’t cleaned up from the similar violence a few hours earlier. I only hit this one 5 or 6 times and tossed the biggest piece into the trash can. I mentally scheduled a trip to the hardware store for noon time as I swept out the garage.

These companies don’t really understand the real purpose of the battery door – to have a way to make your alarm SHUT UP IMMEDIATELY.  I am the owner, I command you to stop waking up the neighbors and scaring my cats, dog, family members, and hurting my ears, right now.  Without a battery door, the second most important feature of the smoke detector is missing.

That is why I will never buy another sealed 10-year battery smoke detector again.



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