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why do smoke alarms go off without smoke

Theres nothing more annoying than hearing your smoke alarm go off and theres no smoke or fire. Has this happened to you? This false alarm can be caused by issues that have nothing to do with smoke or fire. Your alarm may be going off unnecessarily due to one of these 5 common issues:
Humidity Dust and insects Strong chemical odors Your detectors location Power issues Note: these causes all trigger a full-blown alarm sound, not the small chirping noise you hear when you have low batteries. In this article, well go into detail about each of these causes and how you can solve them. So dont worry, youll get rid of that annoying sound in no time! High humidity can cause a smoke detector to go off because the detector can mistake humid air for smoke. Were especially susceptible to this problem in Florida where humidity is often 70% or higher, are most likely to mistake high humidity for smoke. Ionization is an outdated technology that was commonly used in smoke detectors before 2003. The problem with ionization is that it easily mistakes the bigger particles present in humidity (and dust) for smoke, thereby causing false alarms. Solution : Close your windows and doors to block the outside humidity from reaching the smoke detector.


Also, make sure your detector is 10+ feet away from rooms with high humidity like bathrooms and laundry rooms. If you have an older ionization smoke detector, try switching it to a or photoelectric/ combo to reduce false alarms from humidity. Step 1:. Step 2: Look for these (visit the section on that website, "How Do I Tell Which Smoke Alarm I Have? "). Generally, a photoelectric smoke detector will have the letter "p" or the word photoelectric on the back of the detector. An ionization detector will usually have an "i" or say ionization. Dust that finds its way into your smoke detector can trigger the alarm because the detector mistakes those particles for smoke. Solution : Remove your smoke detector and clean it to remove debris or dead insects. Also, see the solution for Cause #1 about switching from an ionization smoke detector to a photoelectric smoke detector. Have you painted your home or polished your furniture recently? In addition to agitating our nostrils, these strong chemicals like ammonia and paint can also set off your smoke detector. Solution : Avoid using strong chemicals in areas that are close to your smoke detectors. If you do need to paint or use chemicals with ammonia, be sure to properly ventilate your home.


Some areas in your home can trigger your smoke detectors alarm. Youll want to make sure your smoke detectors are. 20+ feet away from appliances like your oven, furnace and fireplace 3+ feet Not inside your garage. Automotive fumes or strong chemicals can set off the alarm, so wed recommend going with a inside your garage instead. Power interruptions : AC/DC smoke alarms may go off briefly until your power comes back on. A loose hot wire : Youll need an electrician to tighten the wires if this is whats tripping your alarm. A large current load on the same circuit as your alarm : High wattage appliances like vacuum cleaners, space heaters or hair dryers that are on the same circuit as your alarm can overload your circuit, trip the power and cause your alarm to go off. Avoid putting too many high wattage appliances on the same circuit as your smoke detectors. An interconnected alarm system : Youve heard the phrase one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch, right? Well, the same applies to an interconnected alarm system, where all of your smoke detectors are all on the same electrical currents. If one goes off, theyll all go off. If youre having problems with false alarms, contact an electrician to change your alarms to separate units.


Is your alarm still causing you to lose sleep? If youve tried some of those solutions and youre still hearing your alarm go off, it could be that you just have a malfunctioning smoke detector or another electrical issue. You can try, but you should contact an electrician if the false alarms persist. Have more questions? Or want a professionals assistance?. Well send one of our licensed electricians to your home to diagnose and repair your smoke detector. Weve been serving Florida families since 1963. this happened to my condo, too. i was away so i don't actually know how they tested, but they figured out that there were two specific alarms that were no longer working. we replaced those two and it seems fine now. this is the 3rd time i know of that the condo has gone through this cycle. smoke alarms seem to have a surprisingly high failure rate at 3-5 years? (and WHY do they have to fail with intermittent false positives?!!! ) but at least they don't cost too much to replace. also as a side note: ours are wired to each other, so that they alarm in all the common areas (front/back stairwells and basement) at once, but are not wired to house power. so, the batteries are still actually providing the power.

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