Kidde P3010CU false alarm

Our Kidde P3010CU combo smoke/CO detector started to beep and speak “Fire” this morning.  A pretty thorough search of the whole house revealed no smoke, no fire.  Still a little spooked, I considered apologetically calling the fire department, but noting that the Kidde i9010 ionization smoke detector mounted right next to it was not alarming, I held off.  (Neither was another P3010K-CO two half-floors down, but I’d forgotten about that one.)

I fought a couple of battles with its alarm “Hush” feature before I could get it to shut up reliably.  IMHO, the user interface it presents is quite flawed.  When you press the button (which does not present a tactile “click” so you know it was pressed), usually nothing happens.  The blaring alarm and voice saying “Fire” continue as if nothing happened.  Hush mode apparently only takes effect after any beep/voice warning cycle in progress has completed.  Only then does it speak “Hush mode activated”, start a 10 sec LED blink cycle and stop making noise.  Of course by then you’ve probably pushed the button several more times, and it may be that an even number of presses toggles hush mode off again.  (Murphy also does his best to maximize the probability of that.)  The spoken info and LED blink pattern are quite helpful, if you can ever get them to start.  On the plus side, the piezo is pretty well sealed to the front of the device, so putting a thumb (or some duct tape) over it quiets it down a lot.  I was pleased that I’d opted to get both this photo smoke detector and an ionization one.  And I was pleased I’d spent the extra 10 or 20 bucks for one that speaks.

It says if both fire and CO are present, the fire notification takes precedence.  I had psyched myself into thinking I might feel a little woozy, so started looking for CO.  The furnace is in A/C mode and has electronic ignition anyway, so shouldn’t be a source.  The only other gas device is the water heater.  Its flue was cool, so I turned on a hot water tap to force it to cycle on.  I was standing in front of the heater when I heard it fire up.  The flue got hot to the touch in just a few seconds.  Seemed to be working, though with CO it’s probably hard to tell.

I took the detector outside in the clear, sunny 60 degree fresh air, but it kept alarming.  I left it on the front step for a couple of 10 minute hush cycles, and it kept alarming.  I took it to the garage and blew it out with compressed air, and it kept alarming.  I considered taking it to the fire house, but by then I was pretty convinced the device was just broken.

I called Kidde customer support, and after an annoyingly long hold, spoke to a pleasant rep, “George”.  After explaining the situation, he took my name and address and said he’d send a new one (10 days or so), and that they didn’t need the old one back.  When I asked how often that happened, he mumbled something not very helpful.  When asked if blowing it out again/some more might get it working again, he replied that it might, but there was probably just something lodged in the photo path.  I thanked him and said good bye.

Hmm – I read the user manual and it said not to put it close to an attic fan – but that’s right where it’s mounted.  Is that because the fan whisks smoke away too fast, perhaps making it less sensitive?  Or because it is likely to blow junk into the detector and cause false alarms like this?

Now what?

I felt a little naked with no CO protection, but at least we still had the ionization smoke detector.  I can’t keep pressing the hush button every 10 minutes for ever.  Should I activate the no turning back death/deactivate switch on the back?  There was one clip visible from the back that looked like I might be able to open it up, so I tried that.  After releasing it and its three brothers, the unit opened neatly.

The cover holds the piezo and speaker.  The lithium cell was unsurprising.  I didn’t know what to expect for the chemical CO detection cell, but this must be it.  The only mildly interesting bits were what looks like a glass diode mounted up off the board and marked “R55”, and the fact that they’d flowed wax over many (but not all) of the components.  I figured I could at least scavenge the little speaker (but fortunately hadn’t cut the leads yet).  While I had it open, the hush cycle ended and it started alarming again.  The click-less spring contact in the middle was obviously the hush/test button, so I pressed it and started a new hush cycle.

And then there’s the photo sensor chamber.  The top is held down with 3 easily released clips.  I opened it up and noticed with interest that the slitted walls were shaped to provide a sort of swirl pattern inside the chamber.  Or are they just light baffles? The LED and photo detector were clearly visible.  That looks like a barrier directly between them, so maybe it works by IR scattered off smoke particles.

It started alarming again as soon as I opened the chamber.  The optical dark provided by the removed chamber top was obviously wildly violated, and each time I’d start a hush cycle, it would abort the hush just as the manual said it would if there were very dense smoke.  That was annoying, and I’d taken my pictures, so I put the chamber’s cover back on.  It clicked in place reassuringly.


And then it said “Hush mode cancelled”.  And didn’t alarm any more.  Huh?  I ran a test cycle, and as advertised, it played 2 cycles of 3 beeps and “Fire”, and 2 cycles of 4 quick beeps and “Warning, Carbon Monoxide”, and then it was silent.  Had the wildly out of spec light on the detector forced it to reset or recalibrate or something?  I put the main cover back on, and it seated with a satisfying click.

I lit a match (with considerable difficulty: maybe I should get some fresh matches!) and when it went out blew some smoke at the sensor.  It alarmed in seconds, with 3 long beeps and “Fire”.  I pressed the hush switch (only once, having learned that lesson) and saw a little blink.  Though I don’t think I heard the voice message, it did go into the 10 sec blink pattern that indicates hush mode.  I promptly blew the unit out with compressed air.  It continued blinking for a couple of minutes until I pressed the button again.  It said “Hush mode cancelled”.  And it remained silent.  Does smoke detection actually work again?

I started up the 4 stroke Craftsman lawn mower (don’t know how much CO the Prius puts out) and held the detector in the exhaust stream for several seconds, but to my great surprise got no alarm.  I pressed the button for a test cycle, and got 3 long beeps, “Fire”, 3 long, then 4 short, “Warning, Carbon Monoxide”, 4 short.  It ended maybe with one more very short beep.  I held it in the running mower’s exhaust stream again for a good 30 seconds, but nothing.  I used this test on a CO detector before and had no difficulty triggering it.  I can’t believe the mower isn’t spewing substantial CO, so now I have no confidence in the detector’s CO side.  Yeah, I opened it up, but wasn’t aware of doing anything that might interfere with the CO side – and it passed its internal test.

I’ve put this one back up for now, but I’m glad a new one will be here soon!

Update 9/13/17:  As promised, I received the replacement Kidde P3010CU on 9/2, and promptly replaced the old one, using the old mount uneventfully.  Today (9/13) I got around to redoing the CO test, just for the warm fuzzies.  I held the stack of 3 detectors – old and new 3010CUs and the the 3010K-CO from the family room – in the exhaust stream of the 4 cycle mower for a good minute.  To my utter amazement, none went off.

I started the Prius and as quickly as I could, before the catalytic converter heated up, held the 3 detectors in its exhaust stream.  To my further amazement, first one, then a second went into fire alarm mode!  After a minute or so, the engine shut off, as expected.  Between my surprise at fire alarms and a lot of noise (two sets of 3 beeps and at least one saying “Fire!”), I didn’t properly note which detector was doing what.  At some point shortly after the engine shut off, I’m certain I heard at least one set of 4 quick beeps – the CO alert all of them use.

I pressed the terrible “hush mode” buttons, with even less success than expected, and blew all 3 out with compressed air in the garage.  The noise subsided, but the new 3010CU kept up its fire alarm.  Each time I’d press the hush button (well, at least many times:  that button still gives the appearance of being terribly unreliable) it would say “Hush mode activated” and be quiet.  But only briefly: in a few seconds it would go into loud alarm mode again.  That’s consistent with its described behavior in the presence of dense smoke.

It was in the house by then, and I blew it out again with lower pressure air in the shop.  Still the same behavior.  Does the 3010CU have a “stuck in fire alarm” bug?  I whacked it lightly against the heel of my hand.  And it stopped!  Coincidence?  Who knows?  But at least the racket has stopped.

Several minutes later I pressed the button on each to trigger test mode.  The old CU and the K-CO responded with the expected test noises.  But the new CU did not.  I set it next to its elder twin and watched two flashes from the older one and none from the new.  It’s supposed to flash once/min for the first 10 minutes after a test – then once/10 min.  But now I can’t get anything out of the new one.  Major bummer.

The way forward is very unclear, but I put the K-CO back up in the family room and the old CU the the main upstairs hallway location.  Humpf.

Update a couple of hours later: Wow.  Having nothing much to lose, and with the unusual data point that I’d jarred it just before it shut up permanently, I opened the new detector.  I forgot that inserting the pick/release tool outside the foam strip around the outside edge left little/no evidence of tampering.  I hope that fact had been relegated to “should never need this again” status.  Again, I hope to never open one of these again.

I looked first at the power switch.  It was a little to the right of center (as oriented in this picture).  Looking at the label directions on which way to turn to shut it off, it seemed like “to the right” was the off position.  I moved it a little to the left (like by the amount of slop allowed by the white plastic operating dogs flanking the handle) and it beeped!  Maybe it said to press the test button – not sure.  Encouraged, I moved the switch and the white plastic operating mechanism all the way over to the left, which I presumed was ON.  Silence.

There also seems to be interaction with a white tab in the mounting slots that would probably be moved when you first twisted it into place.  A little incredulous, I moved it all so the switch was in the center of its travel (as in the picture above).  It beeped and then for sure said “Press test button” (or close).  I did (using the exposed contacts in the still open device).  It beeped and probably went thru a test cycle of fire and CO.  Great – it looks like it works again!

And then it went into fire alarm.  The first step was to get some duct tape to cover the piezo so I could stand to work on it.  I pressed the hush button (once) several times, and each time that it worked (most) it continued the alarm noise cycle in progress, then finally deigned to say “Hush mode activated”.  A few seconds later it started alarming again.  Bummer.

Now pretty desperate, I recalled that the old one somehow reset after I opened the smoke sense chamber.  I opened that, inspected it (saw nothing), blew at it, and closed it up again.  (All the while pressing the button contacts frequently for a few seconds of quiet.)  No change.  Opened it again, blew it out again, held it more in the light, closed it up.  And hush mode stuck!  I waited a minute or two, put the main cover back on and pressed the button again.  “Hush mode cancelled”.  It’s been quiet ever since.  I ran a test cycle several minutes later, and that performed exactly as expected.

More confident than before that I’d actually somehow fixed it (reset is more like it) and that it was probably working fine again (and relieved of the darned noise), I turned my attention to the unexpected “only center on” switch position.  Fortunately, I happened to have another of the same model of detector which seemed to be working, and whose switch had never been touched. 🙂  I opened that old one back up, and found the switch right in the center of its travel!  That’s the picture above.  Wow.  I wonder if it’s a real 3 position switch, with left=battery disconnected; center=battery connected; and right=detector disconnected and a short/resistor across the battery to render it safe.  Hmm – in not obvious but vaguely appropriate places (for a crowded board) OFF, ON, and DISCHARGE appear in the silkscreen, in support of the 3 position switch theory.

I found a post here (about an i12060ACA) mentioning that Kidde support told her to “… hold the ‘Test’ button down for 2 sets of three beeps, then release. This resets the alarm. ”  I wonder if this is a common undocumented feature?

Terminally infected with the thoroughness bug, I did an actual smoke test on it.  (The matches from the mostly-full carton dated 10/10 that had been sealed in a ziplock bag lit much more reliably than the ones (probably from the same carton) that had been sitting in a parts drawer for some years.)  It took a couple of matches, but it went into alarm, and hush mode activated and shut it up.  I blew it out well with compressed air and hit the button again.  “Hush mode cancelled.”  I’m now confident enough that it works that after I put it back up on the hallway ceiling I’m going to forget about it.  And I suspect the first one is also quite functional.


The specs for CO detection mention times from 4 to 240 minutes, so maybe my expectation of triggering an alarm in a few tens of seconds was inappropriate.  It seems to me the previous successful testing might have been on a dedicated CO detector that had a concentration display.  Maybe I just noted that the display showed more CO.

In any event, I can get a can of spray CO (!?) designed for testing CO detectors for 12 bucks on Ebay.  I’ve read that each test desensitizes/ages the detector, so testing is a double edged sword.  And I don’t think I’ve ever read anybody saying the detectors last over 7 years (OK, except implicitly in the advertising for the 10 year units.)  But it would at least give some warm fuzzies that these detectors I’d opened up still functioned for CO.

I ordered a can.

Update ~10/25/17: I never received the can of CO, so contacted the seller thru eBay.  Though I indicated I still wanted the product, he promptly sent a full refund.  Yeah, I got my money back, but what I wanted was the CO tester!  Bummer.

Update 11/19/17: I woke up at 6AM this Sunday to “Beep beep beep”.  I followed the noise downstairs, walking directly under the (silent) new replacement Kidde P3010CU in the upstairs hallway, and then directly under the (also silent) P3010K-CO in the family room.  As I got closer to the noise, I could hear it speak “Fire” between triple beeps.  Following the noise led to the old, originally failed P3010CU sitting on a shelf in the basement.

Dumbly holding the annoying noisemaker in my hand, it soon occurred to me thru the morning fog that I could push the “hush” button.  Of course it didn’t shut up, but then recollections of past experiences came back, and I gave it one firm push at the end of a beep/speak alarm cycle.  I don’t know if it had occurred to me that maybe the button is only polled at the end of each alarm cycle.  Anyway, it said “Hush mode activated”.  Good.

And then it started alarming again.  I played the game with the button again, and eventually got it back to hush mode.  I turned it around ’til I found the black plastic smoke sense chamber and gently blew at it a few times.  I pressed the button again, and got “Hush mode cancelled”.  And silence.

After  it appeared to have come to its senses (and passed a basic match-smoke test) after the initial event, I couldn’t stand to just kill it (with the disable/discharge switch on the back), so it was just literally put on the shelf.  And once again, the device failed with a false positive to some non-olfactible stimulus.  But at least this time it had the decency to (at least appear to) recover with a simple ventilation.

It’s back on the shelf now, silent, future unknown, but trusted less.  Kidde did exactly the right thing by promptly replacing it.  I guess such false positive failures are pretty rare (which is a good thing!).  But at least this one is chronicled here.

Final fail

7/6/18:  The alarm went off with a false positive in the middle of the night – just enough cycles to get me out of bed, but not enough to verify what the heck was making that noise.  Then a couple of nights later, it did it again – but this time I caught it in the act.  Now what?

First, make it shut up!  Using what I’d learned, I pushed the button just at the end of an alarm cycle, and it said “Hush mode activated”.  Good.  Started alarming again.  Bad.  Same dance again – same result.  OK, put some tape over the dumb piezo.  That’s better.  I popped the clips and opened it up.  A little manipulation, and I got the switch back into the OFF position.  Noise stopped.  Good.  Checked cell voltage – 2.95V.  That cell’s blown some of its energy making noise all those time, so it’s probably not worth saving.  Now what?

Went back to bed.

When I got back to it (days later), the plan was clearer:  Scavenge what’s worth saving, toss the carcass.  But what about the cell?  Yeah, the responsible thing is to discharge it.  With sadness, I moved the switch to DISCHARGE, wasting whatever energy was left in the cell.

Here’s the mechanism that manages the switch, with the moving part highlighted.  The dogs that move the switch are marked in red; the ratchet that ensures you can’t ever turn it back on after moving to Discharge is in green.  Left is Off; right is Discharge.

The label with instructions on final discharge is still intact, as I moved the switch by hand with the case open.  The tab that moves the switch from Off (as shipped) to On is just visible under the tabs that hold it on the twist-n-lock mounting bracket.

I pulled the 3 wire piezo, as well as the speaker – with its fragile clear film cone.  It was marked as 8 Ω, but a test with a 1KHz signal showed more like 20-40 ohms.  Go figure.

Anyway, the multiple false alarms sealed its fate.  Since it wasn’t an ionization sensor, I didn’t expect disposal warnings, and found none.  Into the electronic recycle box.  RIP.

Another damn Kidde false alarm

8/12/20:  This time the P3010K-CO smoke/CO, no voice alarm went off in the middle of the night (why is it always in the middle of the night?).  Woke me up, took longer than it should to figure out where the damn noise was coming from.  Would have been easier to figure out if it had been one of the talking ones.  Put some duct tape over the piezo.

Failed to remember that the button would ‘hush’ the alarm (tho only if you pressed it at exactly the right time).  Remembered the latches would let you open it.  Forgot that going in outside the foam tape was easier/less mess.  This one had a label over the break line between the halves, so was harder to get apart.

When inside, found the familiar 3 position switch, turned it to ‘off, not installed yet’.  Blessed silence.  Blew at the smoke chamber, turned it back on and it alarmed immediately.  Turned it back off.  Remembered that you could pop open the smoke chamber.  Did so, blew it out (just by mouth), closed the chamber back up, turned it on, and it was OK.  Of course it went thru its boot-up tests.  I suspect it’s fine again.

The installation note said it was installed 12/14, so it had managed to stay quiet for almost 6 years.  There is a note on the back that says to vacuum or blow it out annually.  I suppose what I just did sort of qualified as that.

Did a smoke test with it reassembled.  Took 4 matches, but it went into alarm.  Never managed to make ‘hush’ work.  Blew at the smoke chamber to clear.  After 10 or 15 seconds of blowing, it shut up.  I think it works.  I’m not even very inclined to try to call Kidde.  I’ll talk with Laur about it.

There is a very useful new takeaway:  At least in this model, if you put a screwdriver thru the marked place on label on the back and turn it away from the marked ‘OFF’ place, it peacefully turns it back to pre-installation OFF – and of course doesn’t kill the battery.  There’s no apparent latch to prevent that.  I did try to move the white tab the mounting process uses to operate the switch, but failed at that.  Don’t hesitate to do this.  Nobody cares if that paper seal is broken, and it’s fast and easy!

The bad news is that I doubt I’ll remember that the next time one of them goes off in the middle of the night. 🙁

Update 11/2/20: The damn P3010K-CO (no voice) went off again, waking me up again.  And again, I didn’t remember that there was a ‘hush’ button.  (Though even if I had remembered, I don’t know whether, half asleep, I’d have remembered the timing of the narrow window during which it might actually work.)

When I looked at the back though, I did recognize the torn paper seal over the ‘switch of death’, and remembered enough to turn it the opposite way from OFF.  Ahhh, silence.

I blew it out with compressed air and turned it back on.  It took two tries before I figured out that the immediate alarms after turning back on were its boot up tests.  There were wimpy chirps before and after the test sequence of 2×3 beeps and 2×4 beeps.  Then it settled down.  I didn’t even do a smoke test this time.  I think it’s happily back to functioning as normal.

I was going to take a picture of the ‘switch of death’ seal and add instructions to turn it the other way – back to ‘not installed yet’ – but it seems I’ve already done that.  So it looks like we’re done until next time.

Update 8/1/21:  Another (smoke) false alarm from the P3010K-CO (no voice) in the middle of the night.  I remembered the hush button, but it didn’t seem to help for long.  Most thankfully, once again the torn paper showing the undocumented “OFF – not yet installed” position of the switch of death silenced it.  It sat for most of a day before I got around to opening it up and very aggressively vacuuming all around the outside of the black optical chamber.

When I turned it back “ON”, the boot alarm sequence documented above sounded, then it was silent again, flashing the LED normally.  Again, no smoke test performed.  I put it back up, mostly annoyed, but with moderate confidence that it probably still works.  Yeah, false positives are better than false negatives, but what a pain.

And yet another Kidde False Alarm

8/18/21: The stupid Kidde P3010K-CO detector gave a false alarm again.  Fortunately, this time, it occurred during the day instead of the middle of the night.  Unfortunately, we were out and found it wailing after we’d been out for much of the day.  It shut up as expected by turning the plastic screw slot away from the position marked “OFF”.

Don’t know how long it had been sounding – burning thru its little Lithium cell – but it was down to 3.08V when I opened it up to vacuum it out.  It was installed 12/2014, so it’s almost 7 years old.  Sounds like time to replace it.  It did chirp when reinstalled, but didn’t do an automatic 2×3 + 2×4 beep boot sequence.  It did give proper test results when triggered by holding button until it chirped, so I think it’s operational again.  It should run long enough for me to investigate what to replace it with.  It’s not likely to be a Kidde.

And another

8/27/21: Again, at least the P3010K-CO had the decency to sound its false alarm during the day, instead of the middle of the night.  I vacuumed it out – just from the outside, not taking it apart.  It was quiet for a few minutes before it sounded again.

I turned the switch to the ‘not yet in service’ position.  I’m angry, as I hoped it would at least grant me some more time before I had to make a replacement decision.  But No, Kidde failed me yet again.


9/4/21:  This is the end of the line for the P3010K-CO.  After the most recent false alarm, I bought and installed a new USI MIC3510SB.  It’s one of the few 3-way devices, with photo and ionization smoke detectors, as well as a CO detector.  I wasn’t very happy with a no-name (or at least unfamiliar name) device, but it was top rated by Consumer Reports.

I mostly wanted to replace the Kidde with something decent.  I had to face decisions about hard wired detectors, and smart ‘connected’ devices – presumably Z-wave, as I’m planning on going that way.  But I wasn’t willing to dig in very deep.  This will presumably work acceptably until I have time/energy to think thru a final system.

I clicked the device’s  ‘death switch’ to OFF.  The only thing I found worth scavenging was the piezo.  But now the decision is made and that one won’t blare any more false alarms.


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26 Responses to Kidde P3010CU false alarm

  1. Diane Belsky says:

    Thank you for this. I thought I was going crazy. I bout a 2 pack of the P3010CU alarms in Jan. 2018 and finally installed them in March. One night at 3:30AM the fire alarm and voice alarm sounded in my bedroom – not fun for me or my dog. I took it down, pressed the hush button and all of the same things you did. I wasn’t able to open it as easily as you did, but whatever I did to it, it stopped beeping. I took it back to Home Depot and got a replacement. Last night, the darn thing went off again. I could not get it to silence, and ended up wrapping it in a winter coat, putting in the bottom of a bag of donated clothes and shoving into a closet, where the other detector was located.

    The next morning, I took it to work with me to see if that would stop it and it did not. No fresh air, no new environment, nothing would stop this thing from going off. I am going to call Kidde this time and hopefully get a replacement, because the people at Home Depot are going to think I am nuts if I go back again.

    • Diane Belsky says:


      • Jim says:

        Hi Diane,

        Always glad to help someone feel a little less crazy! Sorry to hear about your alarms – but glad they were just false positives. I hope Kidde provides you with the same prompt and fairly painless replacement service it gave me.


  2. Joe Jackson says:

    Jim, thanks for your thorough write-up! But I’m confused about what you said regarding putting duct tape over the ‘piezo’ to quiet things down. Do you mean covering what looks like speaker slots on the unit’s face-plate? Three weeks ago, I had two false alarms in one day. I vacuumed the side vent slots, and so far no more falsies, but I want to be prepared if it happens again.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Joe,

      The P3010CU I have has two independent noise makers – a piezo buzzer for the loud, obnoxious beeping, and a speaker for the voice messages. The piezo is under the smaller of the 2 sets of openings on the face plate, the one near the bottom when the lettering is right side up. That’s the hole I covered up to be able to stand to work on it.

      Hope that helps!


  3. Attila says:

    Had to break the tab on my darned thing this morning. It was doing exactly the things you described. 10 years my… Anyways, thank you for your write up. I also took it apart and scavenged parts… I’m kinda weary now as we have 3 more of these devices scattered around the house and are planning on going on a looong vacation… I don’t want to come back to a soaked house nor to a hefty firebill… 🙂

  4. Paul says:

    Hey Jim,

    My wife and I got woken up this morning by the P3010CU beeping and yelling fire right outside our bedroom door. Thankfully it was at 6am so not in the middle of the night. There is another one outside another bedroom door not more than 25′ away and it was silent. No smoke, no fire, no anything. Same as your experience.

    After two more false alarms I killed it, figuring it was defective. Clearly I did not have the same level of patience as you to take it apart and do some diagnostics! Thanks for the thorough write up. It was fun to read over my now-dead P3010CU and coffee.


  5. Ken says:

    I was sanding in an area of the P3010CU and it accidentally tripped. The sanding tripped the alarm and could not be hushed. The only was was to destroy it with a screwdriver. I contacted Kidde and was told that duct covered the sensor. Taking it outside did nothing and Kidde told me a can of air was needed. I did not think of that or I would have used my air compressor. I could read through their response that it was done intentionally by me. There was a very bad aura from Kidde. Hopefully, if anybody else contacts them, a nise CS person responds.

    • Jim says:

      Sorry for the bad vibes you got from Kidde. Yeah, since the photo smoke detector seems to work by sensing IR reflected off particles in the air in the chamber, any particulate – like dust from sanding – should set it off. Blowing it out with compressed air is an appropriate remedy, though I’ve had mixed results with that.

  6. RichardM says:

    Mine went off for no apparent reason and I couldn’t get it to shut up. I did see the permanent screw through the label and did that and completely killed it. I set it down and went back to bed wondering what set it off. Then I started thinking, what if the smoke detector itself was smoking. So I got up and set the thing in the sink just in case.

    I don’t think I want a replacement from Kidde, I’m just going to look for one with a better reputation.

  7. Shayne T says:

    Mine went off just now. Woke up the neighbor upstairs and annoyed the heck out of me. This alarm got installed 08/12/2019. Ran out of patience to deal with this. Disabled it, maybe gave it a little smashing with my hammer. It is cut the wires to the speaker and now resting in a garbage bin ready to be picked up tomorrow.

  8. G Turn says:

    I bought a two pack of kiddie p3010k-co and one started false alarming about a year ago. And the other did just now. Both were manufactured April 25th of 2018.

  9. John says:

    This happens with mine too.
    I already killed one permanently and another is on death row.
    Clearly there’s a design flaw in these units.

    • Jim says:

      Design flaw – maybe. But they’re trying to design and market a very sensitive, yet low cost sensor for which false positives are an annoyance to customers but false negatives can kill them. Maybe they’ve set their testing/manufacturing thresholds on the conservative side, expecting that decision to result in a small number of returns and free replacements. That might be a savvy (and ethically responsible) business decision.


      • troubleshooter says:

        If you think there’s a design flaw, I had exactly the same issue with it and boy was it annoying. But I don’t ever use P3010 series because of my bile experiences with P3010B, P3010CU, and P3010K-CO, and don’t even get me started on the P3010L. I recommend using other series like kn-cope-ic, kn-cosm-ba or kn-cosmxtr-ba. I have a kn-cope-ic in my house and it works perfectly.
        hope this helped!

  10. Ron Hipfner says:

    I just took down my 2nd Kidde P3010K-CA. The first one started randomly alarming after a few months, the 2nd one lasted a month. I’ve given up and will be buying a different brand. I see that United Technologies owns Kidde.
    They are spinning out the division that makes Kidde into a separate co. next year after UTX and Raytheon merge to form a purely defense/aeronautics co. I will be avoiding the consumer products division in my investment account

    • Jim says:

      Thanks for the comment, Ron. For fun, I just looked up the P3010CU on Amazon, and it was only 3.2 stars, with false alarms being the reason. I guess I’ll also look around more next time.

  11. Teri G says:

    My P3010CU went off early this morning. No voice alarm, only the beeping. It stopped after about 20 seconds. Can’t find anything on any websites as to why. Kidde support page is useless. Starting the agree with most of you. Get rid of them and get something else.

  12. Hans F says:

    Jim, Thank you for your study and analysis of these issues. I am experiencing the same Damn issues with my Kidde Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Model P3010CU units. It is frustrating and time consuming. I have bought quite a few Kidde products over the years and this is the worst ever.

    Original P3010CU was manufactured on Dec 11, 2019 and purchased June 28, 2020 at The Home Depot online for $59.97. Thought that I was paying more for a quality item for excellent protection. Boy was I wrong. There is zero protection from a unit that has to be removed due to false positive nuisance alarms. The original unit lasted less than a month. On July 25, 2020, after a long wait on hold at Kidde at 1-800-880-6788 they ran thru a “test procedure”. It failed their test. They agreed to replace the unit in 7-10 days. They did not do what they promised. I called again, and again a long hold, and Bill agreed to look into it. He did, and emailed me with an excuse citing software issues. I finally received the replacement on August 24, 2020, a month after my initial contact. Great, I figured, just a single bad product, and not so great CS…Nope.

    The identical replacement failed the same way after less than 2 months. Now (that is since October 17, 2020) getting thru the Kidde customer service phone lines is impossible: I have tried 3 of them. They put you on hold forever, and then hang up on you; wasting a portion of my remaining lifetime. I assume that means that their limited staff is super busy handling numerous complaints, not just simply rude. Or maybe more likely, both. It is certainly Kidde corporate inconsideration of their customers.

    The replacement Alarm ID: UL S1816 Issue No.: 0009100, 2019 Dec 11, was installed in a Bedroom…went off in early am… in the absence of any smoke or CO problems, and continued to go off in free air. The so called hush mode is a joke, “Hush” lasts only 3-5 seconds…a bad joke. It put out the following “cry for help”: “Fire, Beep, Beep, Beep…Beep, Beep, Beep, Fire” then repeated ad infinitum. Hush Mode as I mentioned above, did not work. There was a ceiling fan running, as usual at that time. There are a kitchen and bath nearby, but the bedroom door was shut at the time, nor was there any prior issue with the kitchen or bath. Nor was there any open flame, nor heating device running, nor did the occupant use any volatiles, perfumes, hair sprays, etc.

    Not having the patience of Job, nor your analytic skills, nor having read your above description and analysis, I killed the unit. I did not blow it out, nor take it apart, but did think seriously about using my 12 pound sledge and anvil to permanently cure what ailed the Kidde unit…nothing quite like a little satisfaction…but could not bring myself to insult my blacksmithing equipment in that way.

    I would tend to agree that the unit is obviously set/ engineered with over-sensitivity, or simply incapable of telling the difference, and therefore much worse than totally useless to the purchaser, who has to take it off the wall when it goes off in the middle of the night…Unlike any other annoying product it can not simply be put in the trash, because the neighbors would call for help and be upset, so the consumer has to figure out the hidden secret of disarming the POC while half asleep, as you describe.

    It is apparent that Kidde would much rather send out another identical POC replacement with the identical product issues in the hope that the consumer will just go away and they can pocket the profit they are still making…It is a 2 for 1, deal (so far) with absolutely no upside to the consumer…or Kidde…Someday, this will be pointed out to Kidde in court, I suppose, or perhaps before the Consumer Product Safety Commission…

    So, now having been unable talk to CS by phone, I am leaving a message online at Kidde, which quite obviously does not want to hear my complaint by voice, or online, and makes it difficult to do so…If I have to resort to returning the item by snail mail, it may arrive there in pieces…

    • Jim says:

      Hi Hans,

      I feel your pain. One of my Kidde detectors – an older P301K-CO – went off this morning. Your aptly described problem of being half asleep when trying to deal with these things – since they usually go off in the middle of the night – was in play for me, too. Fortunately, I remembered that duct tape would cut the noise down, so was able to take that step even in my impaired state. I didn’t remember that there was a ‘hush’ button. I did recognize the torn paper over the ‘switch of death’, and remembered enough to turn it the other way to shut off the noise nondestructively. Ahhh. After I blew it out (didn’t even have to disassemble it) and turned it back on it rebooted and is back in service.

      I appreciate the sensitivity they’ve designed into these things, and I suppose I have to admit that false positives are better than false negatives. But for expensive devices that are a pain in the ass, it would sure be nice if they had better CS to help us out!

  13. smoke alarm helper says:

    I had something similar. The P4010DCSCO-W went off and I didn’t know. So, I ended up having to shut it off(NOT PERMANENTLY). You can do this by breaking thru the seal usually for turning it off permanently. Then turning the knob counterclockwise to a blank position. It clicks and boom. It turns off. When you want to turn it back on, turn the knob clockwise it’ll go BEEP and say push test button. If it false alarms again do that.

  14. Dave says:

    Our model P3010CU detector when off twice last night waking us up. It was indicating a fire hazard. Hushed it each time. Took unit off ceiling mount and lightly tapped it on its side. Guess what? A small spider emerged alive and I quickly smashed the spider. I next set the detector nearby in my bedroom in case it went off again. It stopped the false fire alarm now. I’m guessing the spider somehow set off the fire alarm. Others may want to consider the possibility of some small insect/spider perhaps being inside the unit and making it go off. I’ve also used compressed air to clean out the detector of any possible foreign objects (bugs, dust) inside.

    • Jim says:

      Gee, maybe they should change the device name from Smoke/CO to Smoke/CO/Spider detector!

      I guess it’s a hard enough engineering problem to keep insects and most dust out while allowing smoke particles in that they’ve just given up. I suppose it’s encouraging, though, that after blowing/vacuuming out whatever crud/critters caused the false alarm, they’re probably functional again.


  15. Russell says:

    Thanks for your post. I, too, have had multiple false alarms on my Kidde P3010CU. Certain there is no fire or CO. I have brought other alarms into the room, including other new P3010CU and no others alarm.

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