🕑 5 minutes read

What causes your smoke alarm to go off randomly?

Have you ever been in the middle of cooking dinner or taking a shower when suddenly your smoke alarm starts going off? If so, you're not alone – it's happened to plenty of people. But what do you do when your smoke alarm is acting up? Many people experience this frustrating phenomenon. But what causes this, and what precautions can be taken to prevent it? Here are some possible reasons and solutions.
Let’s find out more!

• Indoor smoke from cooking.
Every kitchen is a potential fire hazard. Does that make sense to you? When you have a kitchen full of smoke, it's not just the smell that lingers. Burnt food or cooking residue left behind by you can trigger an irritating smoke detector into wigging out on high alert and sending its warning signal across the house, which may also lead to other sensitive items going off.

Burnt food and cooking items, such as toasters, can set off smoke detectors. Moreover, those oily residues cover everything within range. Keep your sensor at least 10 feet away from these hazardous substances.

But remember: A sensitive alarm is better than one that isn't triggered by small fires because then you would be wasting time responding while risking lives in other parts of the house with no flames or rising temperatures!

• Fireplace or outdoor smoke.
If you have a fire alarm installed near your fireplace, wood fumes could set off any nearby alarms. When you’re enjoying in front of an open flame, it's important to keep an eye out for the detection of smoke. If there are fireplaces close by, especially if they lead into any rooms with carpeting or soft furnishings, this could set off alarms when they should not - like during cooking sessions!

Pro tip: Annual chimney inspections can prevent excess debris which might cause damage inside your homes.


• High humidity and steam.
Smoke detectors can be sensitive to humidity. When the air in your home is too wet or humid, it might set off a fire alarm even if there's no actual smoke present! Moreover, the steam produced by boiling water may trigger fire alarms if it contains enough moisture. Smoke detectors are usually tested for this, but sometimes they can incorrectly give off an alarm because of heavy humidities or even high levels that come from nearby showers, stovetops and other appliances where there is constant evaporation happening every second!

To prevent mould growth, keep air moving in your home by installing a fan, turning off your humidifier, or opening a window for fresh air.

• Bugs and insects hide inside the alarm.
So you're hearing this weird beeping sound from your fire alarm, and it's driving everyone crazy. Well, most people don't think much about their smoke alarm until it starts quitting in the middle of the night.

But did you know these devices can also be home to various bugs and insects? While it's unlikely that you'll find anything larger than a spider inside your smoke alarm, it's not uncommon for smaller insects to take up residence in these devices. The warm, dark interior of a smoke alarm is the perfect breeding ground for many types of insects, and the electrical wires can provide a source of food for them. As a result, it's essential to check your smoke alarm for signs of infestation regularly. Contact a professional pest control company for assistance if you find any bugs or insects inside the device.

• Low battery.
If your alarm is battery-operated, it's important to test the battery life regularly to ensure it will work properly in an emergency. It's not that difficult; all you need to do is check the battery life, remove the smoke detector's outer casing, and look for low-power signs, such as flaking paint or cracked plastic cups where the batteries are installed.

If you see these signs, we recommend installing fresh batteries immediately for maximum protection. By regularly checking your smoke detector's battery life, you'll be sure it's working properly in the event of an emergency.


• Accumulation of dust or debris.
If you have a smoke alarm that's been going off for no reason, there's a chance that it's just full of dust and debris. So take the next step to fix the problem. You can easily use canned air or a vacuum attachment to clean the smoke detector. But keep in mind that moving all the debris around the alarm may cause it to go off again, but it should be temporary. Once the smoke detector is clean, it should function properly once again.

Fair warning: Moving all that debris around the alarm can cause the sound again. In such a case, check them regularly and keep them clean. It's always better to manage things safely than to be sorry.

• Harsh chemical.
Keeping your smoke alarm in good working order is essential, but you may need to realise that the chemicals you use around your home can cause it to go off. Harsh chemicals found in bug spray and cleaning products can cause the smoke alarm to sound, so it's essential to be aware of this when using these products.

However, if your smoke alarm is going off more often than usual, try switching to natural remedies or keeping the area well-ventilated when using harsh chemicals. Taking these precautions can help keep your smoke alarm in good working condition.

• Smoke Alarm Life.
Smoke alarms have a limited lifespan. So the expert advice is to replace them once it reaches the right time. Let's find out how to tell if your smoke alarm is nearing the end of its life.

  • First, check the manufacturer's date on the smoke alarm. Most smoke alarms have a lifespan of 10 years. If your smoke alarm is 10 years old, it is the right time to replace it.
  • Always keep an eye out for physical changes to the smoke alarm, such as cracks in the housing or a loose connection between the battery and the terminals. Have you ever noticed these changes? Well, it's time to get a new smoke alarm.
  • Finally, listen for the smoke alarm chirping.
  • Well, even if it's not wired, this noise hints that the alarm's battery is low and needs to be replaced.
Even if you don't hear the smoke alarm chirping, you should still replace the batteries every six months to be safe. Regularly checking your smoke alarms and replacing them when necessary can help keep your home safe from fires. Hire the experts at ADT who can find out what's wrong and how to fix it, so your peace of mind returns!

Is it time to upgrade your smoke alarm?

Traditional smoke alarms use ionisation technology to detect smoke, but they can be slow to sound an alarm in the event of a smouldering fire.

Which smoke alarm best fits your home?
Old-school ionisation detectors are great for sensing fast fires with many flames, but they only catch slow-burning, smouldering fires that often produce smoke.

Photoelectric alarms are triggered when smoke, dust, or a defect refracts a light source inside the unit. This smoke alarm is excellent for catching smouldering fires without too many flames.

Dual alarms consist of both types of sensors. Depending on the unit, it is necessary to activate one or both sensors for the alarm to sound.

Smart smoke detectors let you know when it's time to replace the batteries and can be quickly disabled from your phone in case of a false alarm.

Smart Alarms!
Imagine a smoke detector that could tell you not only when there was a fire but also how big the fire was and where it was located in your home. Well, this might not be just a dream any longer, as some new smart smoke detectors are hitting the market that can do just this.

That's why you should consider a smart smoke detector. They use ionisation and photoelectric technology to detect smoke. What does that mean? It simply informs that they are better at detecting fast-burning and smouldering fires. They also often include features like wireless connectivity, so you can receive alerts on your smartphone if there's a fire in your home. And some even come with built-in emergency lights, so you can find your way to safety even if the power is out. So if you're looking for the best protection for your family, consider a smart smoke detector.

In addition, smart smoke detectors can be connected to your home's Wi-Fi network, allowing you to receive alerts on your phone or tablet. As a result, you can be notified of a fire even if you are not at home.

Every minute counts! Contact serviceteam to find out how we can add fire protection and carbon monoxide protection to your home.