The sound was faint. It was responsible for awakening me, but once I awoke, I heard it. A distant “chirp.” I swung my feet over the side of the bed, slipped on my flip-flops (my favorite indoor footwear, in spite of the cold), grabbed my morning lounging-around-the-house clothes, and ventured out to start my day.
Just as I closed the bedroom door behind me, I heard it again. The sound could have come from anywhere it the house. Sounding distant, it echoed off the wood floors and hard surfaces in our cavernous living area. But I knew it was closer than it sounded. Perhaps it’s the refrigerator, chirping to alert me that I left it ajar last night before I went to bed? No; as I stood next to the solidly closed refrigerator door, it seemed to come from across the room. Maybe it’s a low-battery warning from the CO2 detector? Two minutes with my ear to that potential source answered: “No.”
Could it be the doorbell? That seemed far-fetched, but worth exploring if I might rid the house of that damn chirping. My ear poised to catch the sound from the doorbell, I waited. Damn! It’s coming from someplace else!
I left the living area to the little hallway leading to the guest rooms and guest bath. I spied a smoke detector on the wall and listened. There it was! The chirping was coming from the smoke detector!
After fetching a step-stool, I climbed up and futzed with the cream-colored circle until I was able to disconnect it from its base on the wall just below the ceiling. As I pulled it away from the wall, I saw it was hard-wired. After a little tinkering, I was able to remove the plug from the back of the device and took it down from the wall. And then, to my surprise, I heard the damn chirping again; this time, it seemed to be coming from the wall, behind the wires I had just disconnected. That didn’t matter to me, though. I assumed the device must have a battery, as well, and a low battery must be the culprit. After trying, in vain, to read the instructions stamped into the decaying cream-colored plastic case, I finally found the battery cover and removed it. There, behind that creamy plank, was a 9-volt battery. I removed it and went to the kitchen to find a replacement (we keep extra batteries in the freezer; someone told me, years ago, that helps them hold their charge).
A few minutes later, after replacing the old battery with a new one, the device was again affixed to the wall. Those damned annoying birds were either dead or they left the nest!
Fire safety experts replacing the batteries in smoke detectors annually or bi-annually. Many suggest doing so each time the clock moves from daylight-savings-time and back. We have lived in this house since April 2014 and this is the first time I have replaced the batteries in that detector; I’m planning to follow the recommendations of fire safety experts from here on. I loathe that chirping-chirping-chirping sound.