LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, August 8, 2011

Alarmed

The alarms rang VERY loudly all over the house.  The dogs were frantic about the shrill high-pitched sound.

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.

23 comments:

Robin's Nesting Place said...

No way! You won't believe this but the same thing happened to us Saturday night! The alarms kept going off; it happened about four times for only a minute or so. We didn't see dust so we took all of the batteries out since replacing them didn't stop it. I'll have to get my husband to check for spiders. Yuck!

Busy Bee Suz said...

oh my gosh. I am with you...I would prefer a snake in my presence than a spider. They give me the willies and the heebie jeebies!
Who would have thought a spider could do such a thing. Thanks for sharing!!!

Taradharma said...

how incredibly annoying, and yes, ALARMING. If truth be told, the alarm sounding would have freaked me out more than the spider, but I do not have issues with spiders -- or snakes for that matter, as long as neither is venomous.

Rats and opossums, however, are a completely different story....

Some day I will make it to the B. Estate -- it looks fabulous.

Witch of Stitches said...

Wow, I had no idea a bug could set off a smoke alarm. I don't think I've ever checked inside for dust either. Interesting post and very unique, LOL! Live and learn.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a bizzare thing to happen. I have never heard of such a thing but now I know. Wonder if spiders have ears? I'm sure he scared him self with all the racket.

Rudee said...

Believe it or not, this is the second such incident with smoke alarms that I've read about today. The first was on a ravelry forum.

Did you actually stop to take that spider's picture? I would have run squealing from the room!

George said...

This is the first I've heard of a spider setting off fire alarms. If dust (or smoke) can do it, I guess it shouldn't be surprising that insects could do it as well. But I must confess that I would hate to take down a fire alarm and find a spider -- of any size.

Cheryl said...

Next time you need a spider removed just call Poppi Riley or me.
We all pick them up.

I can understand fears and anxieties but they are so small ??

Sooooo funny, i laughed all the way through the spider bit.......

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

We had the alarms go off in the middle of the night soon after we moved into our new home. Surely the batteries were not used up already??? Long story short, we changed all the batteries after going to the store to get more 9v batteries. It was a long night --ours talks to us...warning warning fire fire...augh!
As for spiders, they don't belong inside..period! Our little anole don't keep up with the ones outside the glass doors....they get swept or sprayed away.

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, I just hate it when they go off-usually at night but it freaks me out so much. I've been known to stand on a chair and feel the ceiling for heat. So glad you figured it out for all of us.
Hopefully that is the last of your spiders.
Have a good week.
Noreen

Ms. A said...

I never had a huge fear of spiders until one bit my husband and he had to have surgery. I don't care how useful they might be, if I find them in my house, they are dead meat.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

OH My Gosh... You'll never hear me say that you should 'save' the spider... GADS!!!!! I'm scared of those things also... I'll keep that in mind IF our alarm ever goes off like that....

We were at Biltmore on Fri.---but when we headed to see the Tiffany Collection, there were so many cars around, and since I don't do crowds very well, we headed back up on the parkway and went to Mt. Mitchell....

We LOVE LOVE LOVE your section of our country. You are fortunate...
Hugs,
Betsy

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I don't like either--But I have to admit that I have learned to live with the spiders that are outside and won't hurt them. But if they come into the place I call the 'forbidden zone' which is inside we kill them. I don't want them in the house or any other creepy crawly thing for that matter! :-)

Jill said...

Oh my!!! I am glad you found what was making the alarm go off. Very frustrating. I hope you were able to see the Tiffany exhibit later.

robin andrea said...

That sounds like quite an alarming experience! I had no idea a spider or dust could set off alarms like that. Good information.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

I won't say anything about spiders being good for the environment. But it was a good opportunity to take a photo and see if anyone could identify it for you. For snakes and spiders I try to identify them to take the fear factor away. I sleep better at night knowing they are harmless. -- barbara

The Bug said...

I don't like spiders OR loud noises - I would have been freaking out! Glad you solved the mystery!

KGMom said...

I promise not to chide you on your irrational spider fear...
OK--I would guess that the spider may have interrupted a sensor or maybe provided a connection that the detector thought was smoke.
An interesting story--though sorry you had to postpone your trip. Also I can completely understand how the dogs reacted.

dAwN said...

OH My! Yikes..Glad you were around to solve the mystery.

merrilymarylee said...

Sorry, but I am still picturing that spider having a cigarette in your smoke detector. I wonder if sex was involved.

troutbirder said...

In a million years I'd never have thought. Forgetting stuff in the oven is the most likely culprit here. :)

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Robin - I had never heard of needing to blow the dust from the detectors. Wouldn't you think the owner's manual would say something about it?

Rudee - No, I did not take the photograph. I didn't want to lose that spider.

Cheryl - Surprisingly, I also used to pick up non-poisonous spiders. Not sure when my feelings changed.

Janet - Oh, a talking alarm would drive me nuts.

Betsy - We do plan to get over there again soon.

Merrilee - You are too funny.

Cicero Sings said...

I have heard of bugs setting off the alarms before! Glad you found the culprit - otherwise the poor dogs - and you may well have been none the wiser when you got home as to their frantic behavior had the spider moved on.