Smoke Detectors Can Kiss My Ass

This is my brand of smoke detector. I hope it dies in a fire.

“Smoke detectors save lives”. So says everyone and everything on the internet. Every day, a smoke detector saves umpty-bumpty lives while simultaneously providing a much needed ornamental flair to the otherwise drab ceilings of our homes.

I hate them ever so much.

“What?!” you say, incredulous that anyone could hate a device that is personally responsible for SAVING LIVES, since SAVING LIVES is the most awesomest thing anything can ever do and all life is precious and every smoke detector disabled by yanking its goddamn 9-volt battery out makes Baby Jesus weep and all that. I get it. I’m not a huge fan of anyone… well, OK, most people… dying in a house fire.

But seriously, fuck smoke detectors.

You know what smoke detectors are good for? I’ve made a handy list, which I’ll present to the National Center on Fire Safety and Security, an organization which I think I just made up but whatever:

  1. Waking me up in the middle of the fucking night for no discernible reason
  2. Detecting that I have set the oven to any temperature above 250 degrees
  3. Alerting me to the fact that I am cooking bacon
  4. Doing all of the above with this shrill piercing fucking wail that ensures that I lose my inner ear balance and fall down the stairs when it’s 3 o’clock in the fucking morning trying to figure out if I’m about to die, which is either ironic because I’ve already died from a broken neck sustained in the fall or it’s ironic because I’ve said it’s ironic even though it isn’t and therefore the declaration of irony becomes itself ironic and therefore we get irony either way
  5. Singlehandedly keeps the 9-volt battery industry alive.

That’s it. They do jack shit otherwise.

I don’t fucking get them at all. The smoke detectors in my house go off with different beeps alternating at different intervals at different times. I have no fucking idea what these ear-splitting coded messages from the electronic equivalent of a toaster are trying to say. Sure, I could keep the manual shoved in my rectum for easy perusing when the goddamn things go off in the middle of the fucking night and decipher the different electronic beeps and whoops and learn if the battery is loose or if a fucking Towering Inferno has broken out in the corner of my basement. I presume that’s the range it covers. All I know is, the things don’t tell you shit other than OMG FIRE FIRE FIRE OR POSSIBLY DUST IN MY SENSOR OR MAYBE SMOKE OR SOMETHING, I DON’T KNOW, I COST 11 FUCKING CENTS TO MAKE SO I’M NOT EXACTLY THE MOST SOPHISTICATED PIECE OF SHITTY PLASTIC THAT’S DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU THINK THAT YOU’RE SAFE TO BRING A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY AND A CARTON OF MARLBORO REDS INTO BED.

Seriously, why can’t they just have a nice female voice come out of their little speakers, preferably with a British or Australian or Irish accent, who calmly informs me exactly what’s going on. “Alert. Alert. The battery on level 3 is dead. I’ll inform you again at 6 PM next Thursday” or “Alert. Alert. There is a fire raging on the first floor. You have approximately 40 seconds to reach minimum safe distance.” Every alert should tell you how much time you have to reach minimum safe distance, like the self-destruct sequence thing in Aliens. That’s comforting. That lets you know where you stand. It also lets you know what the fuck is going on, which I presume would be a handy thing to have a piece of fucking safety equipment do.

I bring this up because last night, I’m awoken by two things: one, a shrill and piercing alarm beeping every couple of seconds in a sequence, and two, one of my dogs walking on my face in an attempt to get underneath my pillow to escape the unholy volley of brain-shredding noise. I get up and start to figure out what the fuck is going on. I smell no smoke. I head downstairs, but before I can check to see if there are, like, lights blinking on one to let me know HEY, I’M THE SHITHEAD THAT WOKE YOU UP, the alarm stops. I look at them all anyway, from top floor to basement. I see nothing. No fire, no smoke, no bacon. Nothing. I go back to bed. For five minutes I’m on edge, waiting for the fucking thing to go off again. Then I begin to doze off because, hey, middle of the fucking night. BEEP. BEEEP BEEEP. BEEEEEEEEEEEP. Fucking things. Ten minutes after the first alarm, it goes off again. Still fucking nothing. So what do I do when a piece of legally required home safety equipment goes off in the middle of the night?

I rip every single one of them off the ceiling, take out their batteries, and toss them in the basement. Like a fucking American.

I fucking hate smoke detectors.

About Alan Edwards

Former cancer caregiver. Husband of the most magical and amazing person who ever lived.

Posted on August 1, 2012, in Rantin' and Bitchin' and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 73 Comments.

  1. In rental homes Carbon Monoxide Detectors are also mandatory now. And because of all the above reasons you listed, in our house we tear the 9V Batteries out, lose them, and frantically run to the store to buy new ones each year before the Newark Inspector comes by to check they’re all working.

  2. I missed your posts, bud. You hold the rage of 10 strong men!

    • Ha! Thanks man. I haven’t had anything to say for a little while (obvs) but a combination of annoying inspiration and a less-busy day at work for the first time in a month helped me to break my slump.

  3. Awww, now I feel bad I did not buy the smoke detectors I just saw at BJ’s Warehouse store of hugeness. They talk! With all my luck though it would have a southern accent and you would accidentally go into a homicidal rage in the middle of the night because you thought the cast of Deliverance was trying to burn our house down.

    • Hey, don’t let things like facts that there are talking smoke detectors get in the way of my ill-conceived rant!

  4. I have a new hate: single serving fruit cups! The plastic lids stick so hard that when you are trying to open them, placing a finger or two strategically to get the best leverage, you inevitably get juice squirting out like a damned fire-hose all over your clothing (like I just did.) Admittedly it was mandarin orange juice, which is okay as far as juice goes, but what the hell? For the second cup I ate with my lunch I just pulled out a fucking penknife and surgically stab the cover before removing it with the skill of a $500,000 heart surgeon. The fourth cup, which I am saving for later, better have learned its lesson or it’s going to get stabbed too before I peel back it’s plastic cover.

  5. Dude, I’d pay serious buck for a Ridley Scott-themed fire alarm narrated by Fassbender ala Prometheus.

    What, was that TMI? Whatever. And the basic ones, yeah, let’s be honest. We DO want to see some people die in house fires, no?

    I’m agreeing on the Bacon setting. I want my fire alarm to say “It’s about time you’re making bacon again. Hmm, does that smell glorious. Save some for me, sweetheart.” Or something else equally awesome. (Versus squealing like a stuck…pig.)

    Glad to have you back. 😉

    • (Yes, I do want some people to die in house fires, slowly and excruciatingly)

      It’s good to be back! Thanks for stopping by! Pardon the dust!

  6. Yes. Reasons 1-5 all true! Smoke detectors take the joy out of making bacon!

  7. You are a model American, for sure. Thanks for this awesome display of your usual wit and candor. I missed you!

  8. FYI, I just had a smoke detector go off while I was spraying on sun tan oil! Apparently, I’m not allowed to avoid burning myself in the SUN, only in FIRES. Just a note to the wise…er, stupid…

    • That makes perfect sense, of course, because, uh, hmmm. Yeah. Maybe smoke detectors WANT us to burn, which is why they go off all the time and force us to disconnect them. We’re onto them, now.

  9. Finally, someone who understands my seething hatred. Cheers to you, sir. If I hear one more fucking asshole tell me how necessary it is to have every room filled with god damn smoke alarms or how you should never take the batteries out because you are just one step away from horrible burning death the moment you shut your eyes…then I’ll set them on fire. And throw god damn smoke alarms at them while they burn. Because how else would they recognize a fire? Without an infernal bit of shrieking plastic to tell them about it, they might burn for minutes without even noticing.

    It’s time we cast off these shackles. Silence all smoke alarm propaganda. Tear out their tiny 9 volt hearts and use them for something that will bring joy to the world instead of suffering. Cook bacon in peace. If a fire breaks out while I’m asleep then I guess that’s bad luck for me and I shouldn’t have lit 37 candles, left the stove on covered in oily rags, and dozed off in my favorite and most flammable chair while spilling my alcoholic beverage all over myself and smoking an entire pack of cigarettes lit with a torch. At least I lived a full life free of mind shattering horror at every turn.

    • Your comment and the author’s article have brought me some much needed relief. I just overcooked some potatoes in the oven and have half -smashed to bits the bastarding smoke alarm in my hallway which is now chirping incessantly. It’s attached to the mains and I don’t know how to make it die.

  10. What a terrific post, and follow-up comments. UGH. Just woke up last night to my 120 GS Mix pacing back and forth and whining like he was about to have the shits at 10, 11, 12, and then 2….took him outside each time, on the off-chance he might actually have the shits. NOPE! it’s the fucking carbon monoxide detector telling me it has no battery strength left. What did I do? What every other red-blooded American would do when furious, anxious, and irritated. Took out the battery, tossed the shell into a spare bedroom, yelled at the dog to shut up, and went back to bed. Is it any wonder I woke up in a foul mood?

  11. I googled “I hate smoke detectors” because I wanted to know if anyone else shared my pain and found this. My story: my smoke detector started wailing last night. I replaced the battery multiple times, but the stupid thing kept going no matter what I tried. I gave up and pulled the battery, but dude, the thing didn’t stop! What the fuck how?? There’s no battery but it was still blasting its beeps. I guess it had a built in capacitor or something so I wrapped it in blankets, put in the bathroom, and shut the door. Do they need to make them so irritating?

  12. thank you!! I damn near went nuts today when I put new batteries into our piece of shit carbon monoxide detector and without warning it beeped an insanely loud shrill beep directly into my ear (which was close because I was putting in batteries) – my ear and entire left side of face is still throbbing 12 hours later. I fucking hate smoke detectors too.

    • Thank you for only saying the *F* word just once when it was needed and not every other sentence.

      The big industry only sees childish insults hurling out so until we can all grow up and act like an adult about this they will continue to get away with corporate greed.

      • My cursing seemed appropriate as the initial post is full of curses. I am perfectly capable of crafting academic arguments as well, but it seems like this blog is a place for people to vent frustration, not to make coherent and sophisticated arguments against corporate greed.

      • Sorry to disagree… It doesn’t matter what we do, Kidde and all those other assholes will spread fear and paranoia to the public while they pay Congress to make all kinds of stupid laws, while they profit share with insurance companies, etc., etc. It doesn’t matter how many people are miserable or tortured as long as they keep selling these 50 cent pieces of crap for 10 or 15 dollars each.

        For one, I just want to rip them all out and cancel my fire insurance. Unfortunately they have already gotten to my wife and she’s totally brainwashed into believing the day after I pull them out we’ll all die in a fire.

  13. i relate so much to this it makes me happy

  14. I agree with you on these accounts but as usual people who complain are usually like you who swear and cuss acting very non professional about it so the agencies who make these dumb laws lumps all of us negative critics together as childish insults.

    It actually is sad we are stuck with a choice between swearing insulting critics of the *Fuck You* type or greedy corporations who also don’t give a crap and want to force the government to make laws that make things more expensive for the consumer.

    Either choice is actually false and doesn’t serve a better purpose but the media has raised humanity to be that way so that’s all that is seen.

    Edit. I couldn’t read you’re article as it’s mostly filled with foul language so sorry if it offends you well actually I am not sorry as it’s all on you! You think we are the problem for not swearing enough but it’s people like you who are forcing you’re ideals on us.

    I am glad SOME users know how to say their piece without needing filters.

    • The “agencies who make these laws” are most certainly not reading random blogs about smoke detectors. Now, to be fair, I share your concern that people in general are not capable of unified, coherent action that can actually influence corporate policy. But I think this blog serves as a place for people to share their stories, not a place to organize against corporate greed. If there is a blog that is all about boycotts, protests, etc. – the kind of action that can garner the attention of lawmakers and the business elite – please let me know.

    • This might be my favorite comment of all time. Thank you.

  15. Tell me about it, I hate smoke detectors. They sit their and do nothing. Jesus, you can’t even light a candle near it. To top it all off, their radioactive. Why the hell do I need 5 of them in my home. Not until 1997 in my state were you required to have these bastards. Those & alarms are useless. I wish their was an off switch for the times you truly don’t need it.

  16. I’ve had it!!! In desperation; this is now my 4th time shmoogling the freaking internet in hope that someone, anyone can provide me with an answer as to why all 7 of my fire alarms and now it appears, the carbon minoxide ones are chirping randomly…but not only randomly, but sometimes in unison or patterns of 2 chirps – then nothing. Nothing, until it happens again. All this chirping has my dog panting, salivating and looking for a 5th of whiskey to ‘just make it all go away!’

    Soooo, they are hardwired, except for the c-minoxide ones and all have fresh 9 volt batteries and still – THE CHIRPING CONTINUES!!! I also see that the light indicator is green but also see a red flicker happening on all of them (fire alarms).

    I’m not sure what to do. I join you all in wanting to toss these M’ther fuxster’s into a heap and then commence bashing their brains out ~ followed by a generous serving of kerosene and a lit match. How’s that for starting a fire!!!!? #%&#!!

  17. You are so fucking hilarious, I got here through your post about hating Peter Jackson ( I totally agree btw). But your rants are so funny. You are someone I could see myself hanging out with, haha. I know this is an old post, but keep it up!

  18. I love this guy. This is great! Really backs up my logic on smoke detectors being the stupidest thing ever. Lol

  19. Funniest Smoke Detector blog I ever read.

  20. I am writing this at 1:42 am in the fucking morning after my piece of shit smoke alarm decided it was time for a battery change. I swear somewhere in China they are laughing their asses off.

  21. Ahhhh yes. I had to google ‘I hate smoke detectors’ just to see if anyone else out there felt the same way. I am pretty sure for every life saved, at least 1,000,000 people are traumatized by the insane beeping of a faulty alarm. I too am ready to chuck them into the basement…. Especially when they go off on a 12′ ceiling requiring a full extension ladder to rip off the ceiling.
    And when you have kids, it adds another layer of fun. Damn you smoke detectors…. Damn you.

  22. Mine has a little green light and then every so often a red blink…This is in my bedroom. Over and over wake up and am startled by this UFO in the sky. Untold number of times. It is hardwired in, as I am in an apartment. I tried to take the thing apart to tape over that flipping light, but of course that isn’t possible. If I tape on the outside, then it does not work and the creepy green light wakes me up. I also can not get to the ceiling with my little ladder. FK this thing!

  23. Lol!!! I love it!! I’m not alone!! My 87 year old mother just called me saying one of our smoke alarms is going off ( one of seven, 30 miles away at 10:00 at night ) replaced all batteries last year with the the batteries specially designed for smoke detectors, supposedly good for seven years! I have put new batteries in smoke detectors and they still chirp immediately!! Junk!! I am so sick of them I can’t stand it!!

  24. woke up this morning to incessant chirping. wife is up. two-year old is up. dogs pacing the hallway. what’s making that noise? smoke detector–dead battery. try to remove battery while half asleep (and annoyed) results in the whole unit being yanked from the drywall above. promptly smashed to bits with four (or five) hostile heel stomps. the thing is dead. back to bed.

  25. Im so glad that I read this because I thought I was the only one that DUCKING hated these god damn things. Thank you.

  26. Why do they only go off at 3am? Why do they need a mains connection AND a battery???? Why do I need 4 of them in a 3 bed house? Why when the go off do they never stop the fucking loudest beeping you have ever heard until you rip them off the ceiling.

  27. Hates Smoke Alarms

    Omg lmao I thought I was the only one who suffered from this!!! I hate these fucking things. I literally am on edge RIGHT NOW because the piece of shit went off while I was making toast, FUCKING TOAST!!! My father n law is a fucking regard and has 2 in the same fucking room so when one goes off, I’m on edge because I’m afraid the other will go off. What’s funnier is the one that is furthest from the source of smoke (should I say the lack off) goes off first!!! Piece of useless fucking shit!!! If you can’t recognize a fire in your house, then you’re fucking blind.

  28. I can’t believe I found others with similar thoughts! The low battery chirping sound every minute made me go crazy at night. And what’s more crazy is that I didn’t know why I was waking up at night. That constant, high pitched beep it made! Now I can actually relax

  29. You win the internet with this. I’ve just changed the batteries in four of the fucking things, in a vain attempt to identify which of them has left my poor old dog traumatised in her bed with it’s unexpected bleeping. To make matters worse, each one is a different brand and opens in a different, knuckle-skinning way. I share your hate.

  30. Lmao. This had me laughing out loud as I read this at 2 in the morning because my smoke detectors have been going off and are extremely loud. How could these engineers be so stupid? My phone alarm isn’t near as loud as these stupid things and it still wakes me up every morning. Damn the engineer who decided that a deafening ringing noise was a good idea.

  31. For every life they may save, they will annoys millions of others. But my wife doesn’t quite get statistics and numbers, so I will suffer through them.

  32. I’m currently replacing my detectors after 17 years of neglect. After I managed to install the first one, I heard the ear piecing chirp every minute. I had no fucking idea how to make it stop until I read the handy dandy manual that said it means low battery. I checked the battery compartment and it turned out that the company had placed one of the batteries in the wrong direction. Fuck you to whoever is causing my ears to bleed.

  33. I do too but if you’re having home construction done your home won’t pass inspection otherwise. So I rip em off the wall when the stupid inspector leaves

  34. Someone American

    That’s fantastic. I thought I was the only one tapped into the rage with these things! Thanks for the laughs!

  35. Someone trying to kill us, an they made a PROFIT

  36. I’ve just had the same experience tonight and was ready to take the hammer to them all. Earlier in the year, the friggin things woke up the household (and neighbours) at 1am. After half an hour of trying to figure out how to shut off the incessant beeping (even when the battery was out – they’re hardwired in where I live), I go online and learn I have to go and shut off the power to the circuit, then pull open the alarm to replace the 9v battery, press test (which causes more ear piercing beeping), then go and turn the circuit back on again (the breakers are outside). Needless to say, I was extremely pissed at whoever designed these pieces of shit and how they WITHOUT FAIL always figure out to wake the household up in the middle of the night.

  37. why can’t these stupid things just display a little red light when the battery is low rather than beeping? and what if you happen to be deaf? why can’t the manufacturers figure this out? what assholes.

  38. Sorry but I lost it after the 3rd F word. What was it about? All I saw was swearing.

  39. That’d be funny to have a bonefire of smoke alarms. Here’s a fire to detect. Chiiiiiiirrrrrrr(dies)

  40. I feel your pain. Just replaced the batteries with brand spanking new, and completely overpriced batteries and they still go off for absolutely no reason. Here’s the best part…they are wired into the house so I cannot just rip them off the wall and throw them away like I want to, so badly. The other best part is, when the local pyromaniac next door burns stuff in his yard, smoke gets in our house.. but none of our 3 smoke detectors EVER go off. If I ever find a way to get rid of these stupid things, they’re gone!

  41. I really needed to read this today. I have been at war with these hardwired pieces of junk since February. I canNOT take it anymore! Thanks for the laugh and commiseration.

  42. The first thing to do when you hear the smoke alarm- Put on ear protection. I started putting on my shooting muffs and have way less stress while trying to disarm the smokealertbomb

  43. This is where you use whatever you got to change smoke alarm laws and remind them that they have no right to chose how we live. Even if some moron dies it doesn’t mean they need to control your life. They never have true studies that show the reason why these people died the different factors that contribute other then fire alarms. They have a clear agenda.

    Welcome to the Nanny State. Biden is a guarantee for stepping on the gas. Off camera he has declared all ‘Christians’ terrorists and thinks the world will be better off if they are dead and China does it all the time. They got a bit ‘westernized’ in the 90s but have gone back to their 1960s Mao Zedong ways of doing things with the new leader in charge.

    Look up ADV China vs Taiwan. You’ll learn why they are protesting China so bad. They do NOT want to go thru that and have their Chinese historical artificats be burned they saved from the Communist People’s Party. CPP.

    2/3rds of China’s historical items have been rescued when people fled to Taiwan. They (China) have recently changed their maps so people in China believe that Taiwan is part of China and some random little islands.

  44. In the 90s Bill Clinton had the IRS ‘investigate’ all the churches and went on a witch hunt shutting many down mostly small and medium ones. Ours was also on the list but by that time whistle blowers called out and they wisely backed off due to the Waco Incident There were threats of civil war then. The Waco incident the judge that ordered the illegal raid was VERY pro gay rights. The ‘church’ was also done by a nut case survivalist but he didn’t do any harm to people. He just had some guns they didn’t like.

    Bill Clinton also allowed unlimited ownership of our media and radio. Bye bye local radio stations. There was strict limits how much and how you buy them out.

  45. BTW: Trump’s Tarrif war is actually working making China feel ‘squeezed’ they have already lessened some of their tight rules which one of them was you had to have 3 military and 3 communist party members in your business if you wish to trade with China and record all your secrets.
    They recently ended that law after political pressure as the China leader was having his avenues cut off. This was ironically just before the virus ‘broke out’ which I think China was going to use against us and went wrong prematurely blowing back to them never making it here.


    There is more and more cloth made from India now in the stores and towels with better quality are coming in which for a while now have been absolute crap. Expensive or cheap it don’t matter.

    However until the 90s political correct crowd got fired up about ‘Southern Slavery’ we used to have cloth right here in the USA and it would go to all the department stores. The political correct people put the kabosh on it.

    When the coal mines shut down not only did they shut down but the machines went with the people. Bolts and all. When Trump is saying we need to bring back the coal industry he is right in a way but doesn’t get that everything is GONE!!!!! Not just the jobs.

    The people that knew how to make the machines are all grandma’s age ready to check out or have checked out. Now all they have got is you or me trying to make the machine and run it.

    You think your up to it? Most Americans are too lazy to learn how to make things. Can you make a shoe from scratch? According to County Magazine a lot of Amish actually use generators now and don’t live strictly off the grid and has been a trend since the 80s.

    Amish aren’t really as ‘Amish’ anymore but they represented like 5 percent of actual America spread about though mostly in the NE states.

  46. +a gazillion. The government regulations for them are so strict (we can’t let anyone die!) that the PITA of dealing with them has huge numbers of people disabling them.

    Like if your seatbelt occasionally honked your horn to warn you it wasn’t latched when it was. and dinged to remind you to test it’s tension one a drive.

    • I talked to an electrician who set me straight on the difference between smoke detectors and heat detectors. Smoke detectors can be set off by mist, steam, clouds caused by dry material, like talcum powder, etc. and of course, smoke. He said smoke detectors are not usually installed in kitchens anymore, for that reason. Heat detectors on the other hand are set off by rapid rises in temperature, and less likely to be false alarms. You might check to see if there is any kind of vapor/mist/cloud that could be setting off your smoke alarm. Hope this helps.

  47. The people who make these pieces of shit compulsory should be forced to live in a room with no reprieve from these faulty usless cry wolf pieces of shit.How can anything be compulsory in a democracy ! Their needs to be a class action against the makers of these things because they are not fit for purpose ,how many people ignore them because they cry wolf ?I have visited many places where smoke detectors have been smashed off the ceiling in the middle of the night they are not welcolme on my property.

  48. Can you belive this fucking bullshit ?-Changes to Queensland’s smoke alarm legislation
    New smoke alarm legislation will make Queensland households the safest in Australia in relation to fire safety.

    The new legislation specifies that all Queensland dwellings will be required to have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in all bedrooms, in hallways that connect bedrooms with the rest of the dwelling and on every level.

    A 10-year phased rollout of interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in Queensland will happen over three specific periods starting from 1 January 2017.So this means if one smoke alarm goes off all of them go off and seld the whole fucking household insane,how come in a suposed fucking democracy the people get no say in these bullshit laws ? To think these fucking usless things arent annoying enough now our nany state wants to make it even worse-

  49. Very satisfying to read. The thing that really gets me is why the fuck can’t there just be a blinking light of some sort when the battery is going out… my house is new enough that there is one in every room. When one of the fucking batteries goes out, I spend the entire time just trying to locate the source of the fucking beep. FUCK

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