2010 – the Year of the Beeps – Part Two

January 1st. Too early in the day. Downstairs something was beeping.

That alone isn't saying much, it seems like every time we bring something new into the house it wants to beep at us. The programmable coffee pot beeps when the coffee is done dripping, and again when the hot plate turns off. The microwave, the washer, the dryer (but not the dishwasher) beep when they are done. The dryer even has an option to keep tumbling clothes every few minutes for a few more hours at the cycle is done in service of the idea that they will get less wrinkled, but that only makes it beep all the more.

But this wasn't one of the usual beeps, it was surplus. And it came and went. Beep. Delay. Beep. Delay. Beep. Very very very long delay.

The noise seemed to come from the kitchen. Or as it the dining room? By the time I'd get over there, the beeps would stop. And then start again some twenty or thirty minutes later.

Eventually I decided it was coming from the garage (which has a door to the kitchen). That made the leading suspects the garage smoke detector and its neighboring carbon monoxide detector. Neither was blinking. Both are installed right next to each other, in very high in a hard-to-reach location about ten feet off the floor. I can get to them by standing on a large object to the left of the four stairs leading down from the kitchen, then taking a very long stretch to stand on the small edge of the little platform that holds up our air pusher. It's rather precarious there, although there are walls to push against to keep from falling. It's very hard to get down again. I wasn't going up there until I was sure I needed to.

It wasn't until Saturday, the 2nd, that I caught the carbon monoxide detector in the act. Climbing up revealed that the alarm meant the backup 9V battery was low, not that I was about to asphyxiate – that would have rated four beeps in quick succession. A quick battery change, some more gymnastics, and peace.


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5 Responses to 2010 – the Year of the Beeps – Part Two

  1. Donald A. Coffin says:

    I have a (bleeping) beeping smoke detector in my home office, beeping as I type. It’s 12′ up on the wall (we have one in the living room that’s about 14′ up). Anyone got a 12′ ladder I can borrow?

  2. Vic says:

    You need to buy a ladder. That’s how people hurt themselves – right after they say, “I don’t need a ladder, I only need to go up there once a year.”

    BTW, I’d call FPL if you are getting constant 132 VAC from your wall. That’s enough to start frying sensitive stuff, depending on the power supply design. Very often, power supplies do little more than rectify (turn AC into DC) and step down the DC by running it through voltage divider networks (meaning that a higher voltage gets divided and percentages remain the same, but since you started with 132, rather than 120…). Many things don’t bother to actually regulate the power further to ensure proper internal voltages. Hence – some things fry. keep an eye on it.

  3. eck says:

    Ian Frazier must be sued for creating derivative works based upon MF’s valuable intellectual property.

  4. jane says:

    CO is heavier than air. Please, put the alarm down near floor level or you’ll all be dead (or unconscious and going to be dead) before it beeps.

  5. Jon says:

    I dunno that that’s so — carbon monoxide is almost exactly the same density as air, and the National Fire Protection Association code is fine with putting a detector on the ceiling so long as it’s someplace you can hear it. Indeed, I’ve read (but can’t vouch for) the assertion that there’s a danger in putting the detector near the floor — if a source is generating both CO and CO2, then the CO2 (which *is* heavier than air) may pool near the floor and push the CO away from the floor-mounted detector.

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