Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stop the Incessant Beeping!!

Around 11:00pm last night, my alarm panel starting beeping. None of the lights indicated there was a problem, so I pushed the pound button and it stopped. About 30 minutes later, it started beeping again. I pushed the pound key and it stopped. This happened several times. I had no idea what the problem was, or how to solve it so I just hoped for the best and finally went to bed.
Unfortunately, the beeping continued this way throughout the night. Sometimes it would stop for 30 minutes, sometimes an hour and a half, but it always continued to beep again. I don't think I ever entered REM sleep last night because I was constantly getting out of bed to push the pound key.

Finally, this morning I'd had enough. I called the ADT alarm people and explained the problem.
Here is the actual phone conversation:

Me: My alarm is beeping and I can't get it to stop.
ADT Lady: Is there a light indicating a problem?
Me: No.
ADT Lady: Are you sure the beeping is coming from your alarm panel.
Me: Yes, I'm sure.
ADT Lady: Well, if your panel doesn't show there is a problem then the beeping is probably coming from somewhere else. Do you have other items like smoke detectors that could be beeping.
Me (getting somewhat annoyed): I have smoke detectors but I'm positive the beeping is coming from the alarm panel.
ADT Lady: Well, since your alarm panel isn't indicating a problem, I'm thinking it may be coming from something other than your alarm.
Me (very annoyed): It's definitely coming from the alarm panel. I haven't slept all night because I keep having to push the pound key to get it to stop. I'm POSITIVE it's my alarm.
ADT Lady: Oh. Okay. Well let's do a test then.
(I push the buttons she tells me to push)
ADT Lady: Oh, I'm showing you have a low battery.
Me: Where would this battery be located?
ADT Lady: In your master closet.
(Aha! I locate the box, find the battery and remove it)

Me: Where can I buy a replacement battery?
ADT Lady: Unfortunately I'm not allowed to recommend any business by name, but think of an electronics store.
Me: An electronics store? Like Radio Shack.
ADT Lady: Yes, that would be one place.
Me: Dang. That place is expensive. Do other stores sell them?
ADT Lady: Yes, but again I'm not allowed to give names.
Me: Home Depot?
ADT Lady: No.
Me: Walmart?
ADT Lady: I wouldn't go there to look. Maybe you could do an Internet search to find a place.
Me: Okay, I'll do that.
ADT Lady: You know, next time don't push the pound key. That doesn't really do anything. The star key would have silenced it for a lot longer.
Me: Well thanks for the tip.

I did an internet search and couldn't find any other stores besides Radio Shack so that's where I went. I don't know if this is true or not, but one of the clerks there said to me that the engineers design these systems to beep in the middle of the night on purpose because that's when people are home. And all these years I thought it was just my bad luck that my smoke alarm batteries ALWAY start beeping in the middle of the night!!!!

Anyway, thirty-eight dollars later, I had a new battery. These are big 'ol lead-acid batteries that would be very bad for the environment if they were simply tossed in the trash. I read online that you're supposed to take it to the store so they can recycle it properly. So that's what I did, and I was shocked by what happened at the store. Here is my actual conversation with the Emo kid who helped me at Radio Shack.

Emo Kid: Would you like me to dispose of your old battery or would you like to take it with you?
Me: Oh I definitely want you to take care of it.
Emo Kid: Sure.
(Emo kid takes the battery and tosses it in the trash can behind the register.)

Me: Uh, did you just throw that away?
Emo Kid: Yeah.
Me: You don't recycle them?
Emo Kid: We used to, but it got too expensive.
Me: But don't they have cancer-causing stuff in them that's bad for the environment? I think that's why they are supposed to be recycled.
Emo Kid (Sarcastically): Would you like to take it with you?
Me (embarrassed and defeated): No.


Anderson Zoo Keepers said...

Hee hee.
So Yelm, my current city of residence, kind of rocks because they have a "hazardous waste drop-off" place that you can go to during the week and pitch paint, batteries or whatever at any time for FREE.

It soo rocks and I'm now environmentally friendly. I won't say how I used to deal with those items before. I'm pleading the 5th, but I will say that if cities made it easier on us all - we'd be way more apt to do it.

Buxton Family said...

You are the queen of late night beeping. Sorry you didn't get any sleep. I'm glad you were able to get the mystery solved.

Nicole said...

Wait...those things have BATTERIES? They're wired into the home. They shouldn't need batteries. I'm sensing some sort of conspiracy. The Energizer people (or any other battery company) must be behind this! Now, I'm gonna check my alarm box in my closet and see if it needs a battery. And if there IS one, I'm gonna start saving money now so I can afford one of those high-dollar batteries!

Anonymous said...

So I came across this post when the same thing happened to me (after 7 years of having the alarm and I didn't know it even had a battery). I'm sad to report that, four years later, neither customer service nor RS recycling efforts have imroved.

Wicked Witch said...

For over a year, our family has been startled awake, at around 1am, by a loud beep. I knew it was coming from our alarm system but when I had technicians from ADT check the issue, both times, both technicians blamed it on something else. The first technician blamed it on my APC surge protector and then offered to sell me a more advanced ADT package. I had the protector checked and it was not the issue. The second technician blamed it on me. He told me that I probably didn't know the difference between an alarm beep and the smoke detector beep. I found your post and we sorted out the battery and it stopped beeping. Not once did ADT inform me or the technicians think to check my battery. I posted my experience and your solution on the ADT Facebook site. I hope they don't delete it.

Signup File said...

These batteries are available on Amazon for $9.99.