In the house we are currently renting until we buy next year, we have had a problem with the smoke detectors going off randomly in the early hours of the morning. I do not mean a chirping sound to indicate a flat battery; they actually go off like a fire. Nothing rouses you from bed faster than fearing for your life.
So we called the real estate, and they sent someone out the same day (the 3 times we have called). The first time they thought it was the batteries, so they replaced them. A couple of days go by, and then: BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Causing the early morning panic to set in.
The second time they came out, they used a can of compressed air and changed the batteries again. A few more days passed in silence, safe bliss, and then they go off in the middle of the night again.
These are hard-wired electrical smoke detectors that use both AC power and batteries (for backup). The third time the guy came out, he changed the batteries again, used some more compressed air, and said that is all he can do.
The smoke detector guy was quite nice. He mentioned changes in temperature and humidity could cause the detectors to go off, and apparently, it is quite common in buildings like ours. And if it happens again, they will look into changing them.
We could take the batteries out of the smoke detectors, but the thought of perishing in flames and smoke does not sound too appealing if the power were to go out. As I actually write this at 1 am, the smoke detector has gone off twice randomly. I was woken up and decided to write this post as I waited anxiously for them to go off again.
Eventually, the smoke detectors were replaced after I insisted they send out the smoke detector people again. Ironically, it would have been cheaper if they just replaced them in the first place.
We were told they were sent to the manufacturer and that they were actually defective. So, if your smoke detectors are randomly going off and you’ve done everything you can (cleaned them, replaced the batteries, hit them with a broom really hard), you need to replace them.