The girls were down in York, PA last weekend when I was awakened by one of the smoke alarms in our house at 10:00 PM. Full-on alarm, not just a "dead battery beep." In a half-daze, I somehow determined the house wasn't on fire, and found the errant alarm in the hallway, disabling it by taking the battery out and disconnecting it from the power, and went back to bed, turned up the air purifier, put earplugs in, and drifted back off to sleep.
11:00 PM: I was awakened again by the smoke alarm's incessant ringing. Disconnected the alarm in the bedroom. Went back to sleep:
12:00 AM: Same thing. Disconnected the downstairs alarm. Went back to sleep.
1:00 AM: Same thing. Disconnected two remaining alarms, once again checked for smoke or fire, crashed back in bed.
9:00 AM: After a sleepless night, I closely read the instructions on the bottom of the smoke alarm and notice the text highlighted below:
The damn things were networked. So no matter how many I unplugged, if it wasn't the one that triggered the alarm, it wouldn't have stopped alarming.
I never really thought that they could be networked, but our house was built in 2003 (I bought it in 2006) so that's a nice piece of mind to have. Literally wiring smoke alarms together in house wiring seems amusing in a day when we can install smoke alarms that network amongst themselves and via the Internet, but it was a nice addition in 2003.
So why did the (one) smoke alarm think it detected smoke that night? I have no idea, but since it was only one, we can rule out fire, and ghosts. I remember once when I was a kid, a spider crawled into a smoke detector and set it off. Though you'd think they'd have spider-detecting smoke detectors by this year, it's possible that's just what happened.
I didn't cook anything, or even take a shower, before bed so I doubt it was anything in the air. The one thing I did not do though, was poke my nose out the door -- perhaps a temperature inversion forced smoke from nearby homes to enelope ours. I guess we'll never know. But next time... I'll know to look for the alarm with the little blinking red light.