A police siren, an alarm clock, a car alarm and a smoke detector. All “necessary” horrible noises. A police siren alerts you to the fact that crime in your area is being dealt with, an alarm clock helps you wake up in time for work, a car alarm alerts you to the fact that your car may have been damaged and a smoke detector alerts you, as the name suggests, to smoke being detected. Well, not always…

Here is five reasons your smoke detector could be going rogue.


Inside a Smoke Detector

Understanding how smoke detectors work and what they contain is key to understanding why yours may be on the blink.

There are two primary types of smoke alarms: photoelectric and ionization.

Photoelectric smoke detection uses light in the form of a steady beam. Once smoke particles find themselves in various sections of the device, the particles scatter within the beam and redirect it to a thing called a photocell, which then sounds the alarm and alerts you to smoke.

Ionisation smoke detection utilises the science of ions and electrons that circulate around electrodes- a cool lesson, right? When smoke finds itself in the ionisation chamber, it sticks to the ions in the alarm, which disrupts the chemistry and gives out the required alert.

Both types of smoke detection will activate when smoke enters the chamber within the alarm system. However, both are susceptible to malfunctions for various reasons.


Overcooked Food

The most common reason for an incorrect alarm activation is overcooked food. Does your alarm go off every time you cook food a minute longer than you should?

If your alarm is installed more than 10 feet away from your oven, hob or toaster, but it still sounds every time your toast goes slightly too brown or your steak is well done, you may want to test and adjust the sensitivity of your alarm.


Placement of Your Alarm

This is a follow on from the previous point, but something that is important to keep in mind regardless of your cooking appliances.

It isn’t just cooking devices you should look to avoid, as installing your smoke detectors beside a window or door can also be a common culprit in causing false alarms. Something as simple as a draft can interfere with more sensitive sensors, even causing the illusion of smoke within the alarm from exterior particles that have drifted indoors.


Dust Build-up

Another also very simple but often very frustrating cause of a false alarm activation is build-up of dust. Dust can also affect your smoke alarm regularly. For this reason, we recommend cleaning your smoke detectors with a vacuum attachment that can reach up and keep your sensors clean from dust build-up.

Steam or Water Vapor

High humidity carries dense moisture particles that are thick enough to cause confusion within your smoke detector as it mistakes them for smoke. In extreme cases, the air is dense enough to trigger the light beam sensor housed in the photoelectric section in some alarms.

The same concept applies to steam. So, if installing your smoke detector outside of your bathroom or by an area that regularly steams up, you may want to reconsider to avoid annoying alarms.


Unwanted Visitors

You see the small holes in your smoke detector? These holes are designed for steam, smoke, or fire particles. They’re not for insects.

Unfortunately, insects didn’t get the memo.

Often insects will crawl inside for a dark, warm safe haven. Once they’ve made themselves at home, insects can set off the alarm by tampering with the sensors. You may want to open up your smoke detector to see if there’s any unwanted visitors inside.


Do none of these seem to apply? Well here at First Ford, we have Burglar Alarm System Installation Experts ready to replace your faulty system with a brand new, state of the art one!