Your smoke detectors should quickly alert you to the presence of fire, so that you take the appropriate measures to save lives and property. But when they keep going off when there are no actual fires, it doesn’t just become a nuisance, but also, it may cause you a lot of fines, and may cause you to waste essential emergency resources.
Here are some of the causes of false smoke alarms, and how you can prevent them:
Smoke from the kitchen
Burning food is enough to set off the smoke detectors, even if there is no adequate amount of smoke in the air. Additionally, if your chimney dumper is not opened properly, smoke from the fire place may find its way back into the house, to set off the detector. To prevent this from happening, don’t leave any food you are cooking unattended, and if you produce smoke while cooking, open all the windows to diffuse the smoke. Also, before the onset of fireplace season, clean and clear the chimney dumper of any obstructions that might hinder its operation.
Humidity, steam and water
High humidity may sometimes trigger the smoke detectors because they work by calculating the air composition, and they can’t tell the difference between steam and smoke. This is why steam from cooking pasta or something harmless like taking a morning shower may trigger the alarms. To avoid these kinds of false alarms:
- Keep bathroom doors closed during extended showers if your detectors are near the bathroom
- Avoid steam buildup when cooking
- Check your roof for leakages, since water may interfere with the electrical circuitry of the detector if water gets into it.
When the detector or its internal components are covered by dust, false alarms might ensue. To avoid this from happening, clean the detector with a soft and clean piece of cloth to remove all the dust. If you are having any renovations that might generate a lot of dust, be sure to place the detector on test mode.
Chemical fumes such as cleaning agents or bug sprays may also trigger false smoke alarms. If you need to use such chemicals, which may produce significant amounts of strong fumes, simply set the system to test mode before you start using any chemical.