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Somerville resident slowly driven insane by months of beeping by somebody's smoke detector

Flier from somebody sick of all the beeping

Spatch couldn't help but notice the plaintive fliers on poles along Marshall Street on Somerville's Winter Hill.




Maybe someone buried a firefighter alive in a wall, Winter Hill is a strange place


About 25 years ago, my boss, who was not the brightest bulb, kept hearing a humming sound which he thought was coming from the wall in his office. He couldn't figure out what it was and it and his complaining was driving everyone else crazy. So he called facilities who came out to investigate. When they couldn't figure it out either, they told him they would be back to open the wall up, figuring it was part of the physical plant gone haywire. Just before they returned, another colleague found an old pager going off in the boss' desk drawer.

I totally feel for the poster. I live in a neighborhood where property managers are lazy about getting to change the batteries. (or worse.. we've had a few malfunctioning fire systems)

Nothing worse than a nice quiet day (and we're not in the flight path) and all you hear every minute or so is *chirp*... *chirp* . And it goes on for days.....

Its like how can anyone who is near the thing let it go on like that. Its maddening.


My smoke detector kept going off one night, and I couldn't figure out why. When the manager of our complex investigated, it turned out that the battery was low. The smoke detectors in our building are hard-wired into the ceiling, but when the battery goes low, that's when the smoke detector goes, off, as well. It's okay now, however.

Hard-wired detectors will beep when they hit end-of-life at ~10 years. We don't even have batteries in ours.

I can’t imagine someone living with a smoke detector doing the low battery beep for more than a day. Wonder if is in a vacant unit?

We had this happening in a nearby house that had been under renovation at the beginning of the shutdown and it went on for days. Eventually found a neighbor with the phone number of the owner (who lives in another state) and it finally stopped a few days later. Maddening!


My downstairs neighbors have let the beeping go on for weeks. I had to email their landlord in hopes of it getting fixed. This has happened more than once. They also smoke so much weed that the smell rises into my living room. Can’t say they are my favorite neighbors ever.


A neighbor's Volvo was producing a weird electronic bird chirp. I think it was a low-battery alert. Went on for hours. I went and knocked on their door. They couldn't hear it, of course. I finally got them to acknowledge it, and they got it fixed, whatever it was.

In our house, we had the low-battery smoke alarm blues. Replaced all the batteries, but it kept happening. Turned out to be a CO detector that had gone bad. Replacing its battery did nothing, so I had to get a new one.

I've been similarly annoyed by distant beeps somewhere on my street. (Though never had the brilliant idea to install signs...) I definitely would quickly go insane if it were my own. However, I've had various clients, students, etc. who have had one beeping for months. It's driving ME crazy on the phone or video; how is it not driving you crazy in the actual place?


I am both in the G-- D--- flight path AND the giant house next door has about a dozen Section 8 apartments, which means they turn over all the time and the owners never change the batteries on the smoke detectors, so when there's a vacancy no one is around to solve it for days.

Summertime in Roxbury is miserable.

I lived in a building where the backup battery for the alarm system was in an unheated corridor. Whenever it got too cold the system thought the battery was dead and would beep.

It wasn't something that a tenant could do anything about.

It may also be a person with a hearing loss, which can creep up on you particularly if the loss is in the high tones that a smoke alarm would beep at.

I sure hope the signs alert the responsible person.

I remember when I was younger the low battery alert would go off for months because I was never around to notice. When I was home, other stuff was always going on so again, hardly noticed. People on the other line with me would say something before I would acknowledge it, interesting how that noise gets under people's skin.

The specific effect of a smoke alarm going off is supposed to be to get people to leave the building. If they can ignore it, it's not doing its job. Likewise, if the alarm is pitched so some people can't hear it at all, that's a design flaw.

*Low Battery Alert*

I have a beach house that is rented to college students in the winter. If one of the smoke alarms begins chirping they call me and ask what to do. Apparently this is not a skill that kids learn before they leave home. As a result, every spring I replace every battery, even though it kills me that I am throwing our batteries that probably have another 2 years of juice in them. It's worth it not to get called on a Saturday night in January and have to explain how to fix it.



Many new smoke detectors do not need batteries. You are suppose to swap the units out every 8 years or so. I guess the sensor eventually dies. Now they've started to put lithium ion batteries in them so they last years and years. Most of the time until the unit needs to be replaced.

I'll have to look into that. I have a carbon monoxide detector that started chirping one month after it reached the end of it's lifetime, so think you are right that that is the new model for how these will work.

and the new ones are combo units. No more double alarms as both CO2 and smoke are in one unit.

I have a beach house that is rented to college students in the winter.

You are a brave man.

No major issues yet. It's usually all or mostly girls, who are a little easier on the house than a bunch of guys. This year we got dragged into being house-parents when the boyfriend of one of the girls basically moved in and the others were afraid to confront her about him. We have a line in the lease about how long guests can stay, so we just played that card and (apparently) he stopped being there 24/7.

What gets me is cars that honk when you lock the doors.

Who decided that was ok? Besides the fact that horns are for emergencies only, it’s friggin ANNOYING to all the neighbors to hear honks all the time. There’s absolutely no reason for it. You can hear the lock mechanism itself, or look for the flashing lights if it’s noisy around.

I go out of my way to make sure my car doesn’t do that. I wish this “feature” would get banned at the federal level.