Does Your Smoke Detector Keep Having False Alarms? Here’s Why

smoke detector

The moment your smoke detector sounds is a terrifying moment. You jump up, wondering if you need to grab your children, your precious photos, your pet and run out the door. This is a moment you don’t want to experience more than you have to (and hopefully not at all). But if you have a smoke detector that continuously has false alarms, you put your heart through this stress regularly.

We all know a low battery can cause quite the commotion, but why else would you have false alarms so often? Let’s take a look at some of the possible causes.

Your cooking

You likely know that the smoke from burned food can trip a smoke detector, but did you know that the steam from your coffee machine or boiling pasta can set it off, too? You should definitely have a smoke detector in your kitchen, since this is a high hazard area for fires. But don’t place it directly over your stove, since the steam from your cooking can regularly set it off.

Your outdoor fire pit

You may not think anything you do outdoors can set off your indoor fire alarms, but the smoke from your outdoor fire pits can blow indoors, especially if you keep doors or windows open near them. If your fire pit is portable, move it further out into your yard or patio.

Your hot shower

It’s a good idea to keep smoke detectors in your hallways, especially any high-traffic hallways. But keep in mind, if you love to take extra hot showers, the steam from your shower may set off your smoke detector. If your showers are setting off your smoke detectors, opening a window in the bathroom could help. As for bathrooms that don’t have windows, it’s a good idea to avoid taking extra hot showers in those because the steam needs somewhere to go, and will probably head into the hallway.


If you live in a particularly humid climate, set up a humidity detector and adjust your thermostat to keep humidity low in your home. Humidity can easily set off a smoke detector.

Insects and dust

Tiny insects landing on your smoke detector can set it off. Make sure to keep screen doors closed and install bug screens on your windows. Dust and debris can also set off your smoke detector, so don’t pass it over when dusting the ceiling.

Your detector is too old

If you keep replacing your battery, but the detector keeps sounding, it may be time to replace it. Smoke detectors have about a 10-year or 87,000-hour lifespan. Remember that if you live in an apartment and the smoke detector was there when you moved in, the landlord may not have replaced the detector in a long time.

Water leaks

Even if you don’t live in a humid climate, water leaks near your smoke detectors can mimic humidity and set them off. It’s important to check for water leaks if you notice your water bill is higher than usual. These can not only cost you a lot of money, but also waste this valuable resource.

You only want your smoke detectors to sound when there’s an actual fire or fire hazard in your home. Other than that, it’s important these devices don’t go off at odd hours and scare you – too many false alarms, and you may not heed a real alarm when it sounds.



Posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018