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Smoke Detector False Alarms in Homes: Top 12 Trigger Reasons

A better lifestyle involves innovative technology and optimal use of the best gadgets for your safety and ease. Smoke detectors are one such innovation that acts as a staple in every building, whether commercial, industrial, or residential. These help with potential hazards and fire risks. However, there are multiple complaints of various brands where the smoke detectors sense a false condition, and the alarm goes off. 

This situation can be tricky to handle, especially if it happens several times a day and when you are unaware of what is causing it. Let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons why this concern might occur:


  • Burnt Cooking 

Many recipes require the ingredients to cook well and for longer periods just so the flavor develops. In many cases, the smoke alarm goes off when there is burnt food on the stove, or especially when it has been on the stove for a long time. It is advisable to keep a window open if you’re cooking to avoid false alarms. 


  • Burnt Food in Appliances 

Microwaves, Toasters, Sandwich makers, and Electric Heaters can cause your smoke detector to turn ON. Often, we leave food inside that is overcooked and results in smoke that the detector senses as a possible source of the fire. 


  • Fireplace Smoke 

During winter, when the fans and other ventilation spaces are closed, fireplace smoke due to the burning of wood can cause your alarms to ring. Some of the smoke particles stay immersed in the air and don’t completely evaporate through the chimney. When smoke accumulates in certain areas, the alarm goes off. 


  • Steam Smoke 

Commonly, in bathrooms and kitchens, steam accumulates because of the heated water and its evaporation. When it finds no space to escape, the particles turn the smoke detector ON, leading the person to believe there is a possible fire in the house.  


  • High Humidity

Humidity is another factor that causes smoke detectors to ring the alarm without a legit cause. These detectors can also consider highly humid areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and even basements as potential fire spaces and ring the alarm. Proper ventilation around the house is necessary to ensure the airflow stays clean and fresh without humidity, moisture, or steam building up anywhere. 


  • Insects and Bugs 

Pests inside the smoke alarms can also be faulty because they go off without any real reason. These insects, especially the flyers and crawlers, can creep inside the smoke detectors and activate the system. Installing insect repellent in nearby areas is always advised to get rid of any bugs. 


  • Dust and Dirt 

Smoke Alarms are part of your house that must be cleaned and thoroughly inspected for dirt and grime. Make it a habit of cleaning the system every once in a while to eliminate excess dirt. The dust particles can accumulate and cause the sensor to sound an alarm. Vacuum Cleaners and dry clothes can be the perfect cleaning equipment you can use to get rid of the dirt inside a smoke detector. 


  • Harsh Chemicals 

These chemicals have toxic fumes, and that can set the alarm ON. You must open any chemical in a well-ventilated space, so it is not exposed inside an isolated environment for long. These harsh chemicals may include cleaning supplies and paint odors that can set the alarm ON multiple times a day. 


  • Low Battery 

Active smoke alarms usually get ON without any possible sources of fire, mainly when there is a low battery. The device starts to malfunction to indicate that it needs charging and the battery must be replaced. 


  • Worn Out Smoke Alarms 

The same case happens when the smoke detector has passed its hardware lifespan. When the device has been used for too long without a possible change in the system, it requires a replacement. 


  • Smoking 

Smoking cigarettes is advised outdoors to get rid of the smoke. Smoking is said to be one of the top factors that trigger false alarms. When smoking, do it outside on the balcony or in an open space to avoid the smoke detector. Many smokers crack open a window to let the smoke accumulate inside the room. After you’re done, you can also use an air freshener to get rid of any unpleasant odors. 


  • Burning Candles 

Leaving candles burning is a safety hazard that should always be taken care of. When leaving the room or your house, you should blow out all the candles and ensure there is no probable source of fire. Burning candles are often reported to catch fire, especially when placed close to drapes or any fabric material. Smoke detectors sometimes mistake regular burning candle smoke for fire smoke and thus sound the alarm. 


Harry Virk

Harry Virk is the director of CleaningPro Auckland. He has years of experience in the cleaning industry and his company is expert at providing exceptional cleaning services in Auckland. He has a passion for helping people and making sure that their homes are clean, tidy, and ready for visitors.

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