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Why Does My Smoke Detector Start Beeping Loudly When There Is No Smoke?

    There can be several reasons why your smoke detector goes into alarm when there’s no smoke present. This is also commonly known as false alarm. These reasons are often related to factors that trigger the smoke detector’s sensors other than actual smoke.

    Common Reasons Of False Alarms

    1. Cooking Activities: Cooking activities, especially those involving high heat or smoke from frying, grilling, or broiling, can trigger smoke detectors. Smoke detectors with less advanced sensors might mistake cooking smoke for actual fire smoke.
    2. Steam and Humidity: High humidity levels, steam from showers or bathrooms, or even a steamy cooking environment can activate some smoke detectors. Moisture particles can interfere with the sensor’s operation.
    3. Dust and Debris: Accumulated dust, cobwebs, and other debris inside the smoke detector’s sensing chamber can cause false alarms. These particles can scatter light in a way that the sensor interprets as smoke particles.
    4. Malfunction or Aging: Over time, smoke detectors can experience wear and tear, sensor degradation, or technical issues that cause them to malfunction and trigger false alarms.
    5. Sensitive Sensors: Some smoke detectors, particularly those with very sensitive sensors, might detect fine particles in the air, such as dust or pollen, and interpret them as smoke particles.
    6. Pets: If you have pets, their dander, fur, or movement can sometimes trigger smoke detectors, especially those with sensitive sensors.
    7. Installation Errors: Incorrect installation, placement near vents or air circulation systems, or improper maintenance can also result in false alarms.
    8. Interconnected Alarms: If you have multiple interconnected smoke detectors (such as our interlinked smoke detectors) in your home, one alarm going off (due to legitimate smoke or other reasons) can trigger the others in a chain reaction.

    Among all the common reasons above, false alarms due to #1, #2, #3, #5, #7 can be reduced by careful planning of installation locations of smoke detectors. You can refer to our where to install guide here for more info.

    Assuming the smoke detectors are already installed in their most optimum locations and false alarms are still experienced, it is very likely that something, most likely fine dust / particles in our local context, has entered the smoke sensing chamber.

    Maintenance And Cleaning To Reduce False Alarms

    Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

    A session of maintenance and cleaning will be required to remove those fine dust / particles in the smoke sensing chamber. There are 2 common ways to do a cleaning on smoke detectors:

    1. Vacuum Cleaner
    2. Compressed Air Duster

    Compressed Air Duster is the recommended way and can be purchased in hardware stores as well as online stores. You can search for “compressed air” in Lazada or Shopee.

    But if you don’t have compressed air duster on hand, you can use the vacuum cleaner way first. We have a guide on how to clean and maintain your smoke detector. Do refer to it.

    If False Alarms Continue Even After Cleaning

    In most cases, a good cleaning and regular maintenance will prevent further false alarms. If you have only tried cleaning with the vacuum cleaner option, we suggest you to invest in a compressed air duster for a more thorough cleaning.

    If you have already cleaned using a compressed air duster, do a more thorough cleaning by spraying air for a longer period of time (1-2 seconds) into each vent of the smoke detector.

    You can also consider engaging a professional cleaning service for your smoke detectors.

    If there are still false alarms after above suggested maintenance, then it may be due to current installation location, eg the location may be in the way of a fine draft that may carry fine dust/ particles into the smoke sensing chamber.

    Move Smoke Detector To Another Location

    In such cases, we suggest moving the smoke detector to a slightly different location. This will require you to remove the smoke detector from its current mounting. You will also have to remove the mounting and move it to the alternate installation location. Ensure a maintenance is done prior to the move.

    If you have another smoke detector in your home of the same model, you can also consider swapping it with the one that continues to have false alarms even after cleaning. If the root cause is indeed location based, you will find the swapped smoke detector to also start having false alarms. This will confirm root cause as location based.

    Never Remove Smoke Detector

    Photo by Nejc Soklič on Unsplash

    It is very tempting to simply remove the smoke detector in the face of false alarms. We do not recommend that as smoke detectors are your first line of defence against fire threats. These devices provide you early warnings in events of real fire threats and that additional minutes can make a difference between life and death.

    We hope the above has been beneficial to you. You are always welcome to reach us at Whatsapp if you need further assistance.