Why Is My Smoke Detector Blinking Red? (Find Out Now!)

why is my smoke detector blinking red

Smoke detectors offer homeowners and tenants a sense of safety and security from threats of smoke and fire. One potential issue is when a person notices that a smoke detector is blinking red, and wonders about the reason for the blinking action. Sometimes, things may happen with smoke detectors that leave a person wondering if there is a problem with the smoke detector or an unseen danger lurking in their home.

A constant red light with no blinking means that the smoke detector is working properly and that the battery is connected to the alarm. All smoke detector units blink red briefly every 40-60 seconds to indicate that they are in operation. However, if your smoke detector is flashing every 13 seconds, it means you may have dust inside the cover unit.

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Why is my Smoke Detector Blinking Red?

Smoke detectors by different manufacturers may vary somewhat in their features. This is true although they all serve the same purpose of protecting family members by sounding an alarm in case of fire or excessive smoke. The variety in the options provides the opportunity for homes to have a smoke detector wherever necessary, as they are available within virtually any budget.

The lights on a smoke detector may stay on or blink. This is something that an individual may not immediately notice after installing a smoke detector, or after moving into a home with existing smoke detectors. Smoke detectors may show a red indicator light for different reasons.

First Alert Blinking Red Lights on Smoke Detectors

One example of a blinking red light on smoke detectors indicating that the unit is working properly comes from the First Alert smoke detectors. The company lists different models of their First Alert smoke detectors and alarms and explains what each red light means on the different products.

The model 0827B flashes intermittently as an indicator that the unit is working properly. Compare this to the model C0400, with a red light that flashes one time per minute. The model PR 710 is one of two models that flashes red every six minutes.

A blinking red light on other models may be an indicator that something is wrong with the smoke detector.

Blinking Red Lights on SimpliSafe Smoke Detectors

SimpliSafe smoke detectors may also have lights that blink red, even when working normally. The smoke detector from this brand that blinks red every five to six minutes without any sound is a SimpliSafe smoke detector that is functioning normally to protect life and property.

When a SimpliSafe smoke detector blinks red every 10 seconds or so but does not make any sound, it warrants a test. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to conduct a test on your specific smoke detector. If the test is normal, the regular flashing every five to six minutes should return after five minutes or so.

The SimpliSafe blinking red light accompanied by the loud, shrieking sound means that smoke or fire has likely been detected within the home or business. People should immediately move to a safe location.

SimpliSafe smoke detectors blink yellow, not red, when there is a low battery. It also makes a chirping sound, which is common for most smoke detectors when there is a low battery. Follow the instructions to change the battery.

Blinking Red Lights on Other Brands of Smoke Detectors

The examples provided for the First Alert and SimpliSafe smoke detectors demonstrate how different manufacturers use different colors of lights, including red lights, for different purposes. This is why it is crucial to read the instructions completely before installing a smoke detector, or trying to determine if there is a problem with an existing smoke detector.

Knowing the difference between a steady red light or a blinking red light is important whether your smoke detectors are hard-wired or the battery-operated smoke detectors.

Troubleshooting a blinking red light when there is not supposed to be one requires knowledge of the type of smoke detector. This is also true when a smoke detector has different colors of lights that may indicate proper working order, or the need to troubleshoot a potential issue.

Troubleshooting Blinking Red Light Issues

If you purchase a budget-friendly smoke detector and follow the instructions, you know whether it is supposed to have a steady red light, a blinking red light, or a light of another color. When you purchase a smoke detector at a big box store or some home improvement stores, you do not have the benefit of having a professional determine if there is an issue with the smoke detector. This is also true if you purchase a smoke detector from an online shopping site.

If you check the battery, and you know that it is properly installed, and there is still a blinking red light, it may be time to just purchase a new smoke detector.

If you purchase a system from a company that also provides your home security system, or that provides smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors for your home, you may have the benefit of having a professional determine if the blinking red light is a potential problem for your home or business.

Reasons to Purchase Smoke Detectors and Keep Them in Working Order

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicates that when smoke detectors are installed properly, and they are properly maintained, those smoke detectors potentially save lives. They point to several important facts, including:

  • Larger homes may need extra smoke detectors
  • Dead batteries are responsible for at least 25 percent of smoke detector failures
  • Newer models of smoke detectors are more technologically advanced to respond to a variety of fire conditions
  • Smoke detectors should be tested once a month
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years

Smoke detectors should be replaced more often than every 10 years if the instructions of a particular model or brand indicate to do so.

Other important information from the NFPA includes the fact that no smoke detectors were found in 40 percent of all house fire deaths. Smoke detectors sounded in more than half of all fires reported to fire departments.

Know Your Blinking Red Lights

BRK is another brand of smoke detector that may have red lights. First Alert explains that this model, along with others may have either a blinking or solid light.

Do you know what the blinking red light means on your smoke detector? It is critical that you know the various colors of the lights on your smoke detectors, and what each solid or blinking light means when you see it. Sure, it may be annoying at times, but when you fully read the instruction and care manual, you can feel confident that you are protecting your family.

Caring for Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors, like anything else, need occasional cleaning. Wipe around the outside of each smoke detector with a clean, dry cloth. If you have a battery-operated smoke detector, clean the inside of the smoke detector when you change the battery, and periodically at other times.

Dirty sensors potentially lead to a smoke detector not functioning properly, which may result in blinking red lights when they are not supposed to be there. You may clean the inside of a smoke detector with a vacuum cleaner attachment if you feel confident in doing so. Some people use cotton swabs around the inside and the vents of smoke detectors to help avoid dreaded flashing red lights that indicate the smoke alarm is not working as it should work.

First Alert recommends that families clean smoke alarm units in their home every month. The company recommends this for both the smoke detectors that are battery-operated and for hard-wired types of smoke detectors. Making this a part of your regular cleaning routine likely means that you will not forget to clean every smoke detector in the home.

Test the alarm after every cleaning, and you are likely less likely to experience any red lights that are blinking when they are not supposed to blink. Ask about cleaning a unit when it is installed in your home, or when you purchase a smoke detector if you are not sure about cleaning, or other ways to avoid blinking red lights.

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Related Questions

What is the best smoke detector?

The best smoke detector for another person may not be the best smoke detector for you and your family. Determine your needs, based on factors such as how many you need and your budget. Just make sure that you understand what the solid or blinking lights mean on the unit.

Do I really need to worry about blinking red lights?

If your smoke detector has a blinking red light that is not supposed to be blinking, then yes, you need to be concerned about it. Follow the instructions to troubleshoot any potential issues.

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