Our smoke detectors are wired together so that if one goes off it automatically triggers all of the other alarms. Last Thursday morning we were getting ready to drive to the Biltmore Estate to view their current Tiffany exhibit. The smoke detectors all alarmed. I hurried all over the house to see if I could smell any smoke. I found nothing and the alarms silenced as quickly as they had begun. By checking all the warning lights, my husband could determine that it was the master bedroom alarm that started the alert.
All was quiet for several minutes and the dogs finally calmed down. Then the alarms all sounded once again. I took the dogs outside while my husband once again checked all over the house. He found nothing and the alarm again stopped in less than a minute.
I checked the owner's manual and found no troubleshooting information on intermittent false alarms other than chirping with low batteries. We knew the batteries were fine since we change them twice a year. What on earth could be triggering the alarms? We decided we should not leave the dogs in the house alone, so we canceled the dog walker and decided to stay home.
Once again the alarms all went off. And once again, they stopped in less than a minute. The bedroom alarm was the one to trigger the alarm in each instance.
I went Online to the Kidde Website. One troubleshooting Q&A mentioned that the alarms might be triggered by dust particles. "Blow out the smoke detectors each time you change the batteries." I asked my husband if we ever did that and he replied that the user's manual said nothing about that. We decided to give it a try so I got the vacuum and change the hose to "blow" rather than vacuum while my husband got the ladder.
He climbed onto the ladder and took down the smoke detector. Expecting to see some dust I wisely pointed the vacuum hose away from me while we blew the dust out.
There was no dust. But a HUGE BIG BLACK SPIDER was blown from the smoke detectors. [True confessions here: I HATE SPIDERS! They are so creepy, sneaking up on a person. And yes, I have an unreasonable fear of them.]
My husband stomped on the spider. Unfortunately, he was wearing a pair of Keen's and the ridges did not make contact with the HUGE BIG BLACK SPIDER! It was coming MY way! Thank goodness I found sufficient courage to stomp it rather than run away. [Don't send me comments about how useful spiders are...and that I should have captured it somehow and put it outside. No way was I about the chance that HUGE BIG BLACK SPIDER might get away and stay inside our house. And yes, I know there are probably other spiders living with us. But unless I see one, I can forget that they are lurking around.]
So once more, my husband and I found ourselves in another Lucy/Desi moment. After the snake incident (here) we decided that I will manage the snakes and he will manage the spiders. Who would have thought a spider would set off a smoke detector?
Photograph by Will Cook from the Carolina Nature Website.
We are thankful that the spider didn't choose the middle of the night to establish himself in the smoke detector. Or worse, at a time when we were not home. Should I write the company and have them list the fact that a spider might be the cause for the false alarms? Nah. No need to alarm people.