Reasons For False Alarms From Your Smoke Detector


When a smoke alarm goes off in your home, it’s an emergency. These devices are the most effective tool in the early detection of fire and have saved countless lives from preventable death. Unfortunately, many people think that false fire alarms are not dangerous, as there is no threat of fire. However, much like the boy who cried wolf, the more false alarms there are, the less likely occupants are to react. 

While the occasional false alarm does happen, repeated false alarms need to be prevented. In this post we will discuss the reasons for false alarms and how they can be prevented.

How Do Smoke Alarm Work?

The oldest form of fire-alarms is heat detection and works by simply detecting when it reaches and fixed temperature or an extreme increase in temperature. While they are still important fire protection, these types of detectors do not lend well to residential homes because they only detect when a fire is already burning.

As such, photoelectric smoke alarms are recommended as they sense the presence of heat, smoke and fire faster and more effectively. Photoelectric smoke alarms work by using a steady beam of light that is scattered if smoke enters the internal chamber of the device which then triggers the alarm.

Why Does My Smoke Alarm Sound When There Is No Fire?

There are a number of reasons a smoke detector will sound an alarm and malfunction when there is no fire. These include:

Smoke Alarm Placement

One of the most common reasons for smoke alarm malfunction is their placement. Placing a smoke alarm to close to appliances such as a stove, toaster or oven can increase the risk of false alarms when cooking. 

Similarly, if these alarms are too close to windows, the draft can interfere with the sensors, giving the illusion that smoke particles are present. Some photoelectric smoke alarms are also relatively sensitive to steam and high humidity, as the dense air is enough to scatter the light beams in the alarm. 

Build Up of Dirt and Dust

Many smoke alarms are not cleaned and maintained as regularly as needed. For this reason, insects, dust and debris can build up and begin interfering with the sensors. As such, experts, such as those at Maintag recommend that smoke alarms be dusted and vacuumed several times a year. 

Dying Batteries

If a smoke alarm is frequently malfunctioning or emitting a high pitched beep, this mean that it is time for a battery change. While most smoke alarm batteries last up to 10 years, it is recommended that they be changed more frequently, to reduce the chance of false alarms or not sounding when it is needed.

Keep Your Smoke Alarm In Top Shape

Smoke alarms are a crucial part of any home, but with all the hustle and bustle we go through each day, our houses can’t be maintained like they need too! With the professional maintenance technicians at MainTag, you can have your smoke detectors tested, cleaned and maintained so you never have another false alarm while also making sure these important devices stay running smoothly at peak performance – giving you the peace-of-mind knowing their device is functioning properly!

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