My fire alarm always goes off when I cook, even when the food is not burning. Because of this, I have never been able to keep batteries in my fire alarms. How can I stop this from happening?
Many modern smoke/fire detectors have the ability to temporarily disable or decrease the sensitivity of the alarm for a short period of time, usually 15 or 20 minutes. At the end of the time period it returns to full sensitivity.
You may want to look into replacing your smoke detector with one of these.
Most modern smoke detectors check for a few things... smoke, heat, light (some check for rapidly changing light patterns). They can also be triggered by steam or aerosols.
So firstly, what is the source of the trigger? If your food isn't burning, is your oven clean? Is your stove clean? Just because you can't see the smoke, doesn't mean there isn't any.
Secondly, do you have a ventilation problem in your apartment? If you have a hood-fan, I'd use it. If you have a bathroom fan, you might consider turning that on. It might help a little to pull air in that direction. You could also open a window if the weather permits.
Thirdly, what is the age of the smoke detector? If it is too old, it might need a replacement. Some detectors are prone to false alarms after they get old.
Lastly, some detectors can also generate false alarms when they're dirty. (A good vacuuming might help if this is the case)
There are all kinds of reasons fire/smoke alarms will go off when you're cooking. Sometimes, it's just flat-out smoke. Other times, atomized fats or even steam will be detected as smoke. Some detectors will also detect heat, and it's really easy to generate excess heat near the ceiling when cooking.
The only solution I know is to have the fire/smoke detector outside the kitchen. In our house, we have one that's directly outside the kitchen door in a hallway, which seems to provide enough separation from the kitchen for it to only go off in truly smoky situations.
If you really want to have the detector in the kitchen, put it as far from the oven/stove as possible, and perhaps see if you can find one that has a "pause" or "hold" button on it. You press the button and the detector goes dead for a predetermined length of time, giving you enough time to do your cooking without setting it off, then it comes back on automatically so you don't have to remember to restart it.
The type of smoke detectors that go off for cooking are called ionization detectors. They use radioactive material, (Americium 241) to create an ion field. The best particle to attach to and disrupt the ion flow is a particle from the kitchen. These type of detectors also have a very high failure rate according to most all new testing. The answer is not silencing the detectors. It is to replace them with other types of detectors that are available. I have been in the fire safety business for almost 30 years. This is a very common problem. Heat detectors should be placed where smoke detectors can not. Those areas include kitchen, attic, garage, laundry rooms, furnace rooms, h20 heaters, etc. Smoke detectors are not to be put in these areas. THEY WILL NOT WORK! Photoelectric smoke detectors are a much better fit for life saving units over ionization. They detect true smoke, not kitchen odors. Best Wishes
There may be something on your oven elements that is burning, causing smoke. Contrary to what has been said above most of the commonly sold detectors do not detect heat. They detect Smoke. Heat Detectors are available but they are not as common. There are a small number of combo detectors. The reason? Smoke can move quickly through a house. The heat can take a while depending on the structure.
I would check to see if you have ventilation to help get the smoke out of the house. Some stove hoods are not properly vented and they do not remove cooking smoke from the house.
The worst thing you can do is remove the battery from a smoke detector as you will forget to put it back. You cannot imaging how many homes I have found after a fire that did not have batteries in the detector for this very reason.
If your detectors are old, they can also be prone to false alarms. Replace the battery 2 times a year and replace the detector every 10 years. Newer detectors are less prone to false alarms in some cases,
I used to have this problem quite a bit. Well, almost. My recipe was always burning or boiling over, causing lots of smoke.
Removing the batteries is an okay solution, but obviously that doesn't offer you much fire alarm protection. You can run up and waft the air around it, but that is a hassle to do ever time.
My solution was a bit hack-y, but it works. I took one of those souvenir fans you get at Six Flags, and affixed it to a coat hanger with some hot glue. A lot of hot glue. Then I just bent the coat hanger around the fire detector until it stayed.
Before I cook, I'll turn it on and enjoy a quiet home.
Just make sure to not glue over the battery holder. I did that at first, and it was a real pain to change the batteries. I suppose a normal fan would work, but I couldnt' figure out a way to mount it easily.
Make sure the kitchen vent fan functions properly and is running when the oven is in use.
Properly, in my experience means it actually vents out of the building, not in circles though an ineffective filter as some cheap "no duct required" "not actually a vent" range hoods do. You may need to service/oil the fan or clean the ducts or grease filters. You may need to install an actual ducted vent fan, have one installed, or move to an apartment that has one if your landlord is not amenable.
Disabling your smoke detectors is a poor solution that can backfire on you when you forget to re-enable them, and go to sleep.
What type of smoke detector? Most you'll find in homes are either optical or ionization. Ionization detectors are more prone to false alarms, so don't do so well in kitchens. Wikipedia has a reasonable description of the differences.
if you're not up for replacing your fire alarm, there's a simple low-tech solution: use a can of compressed air (the kind that you use for blowing dust off your keyboard -- endust and dust-off are popular brands). a quick blast of compressed air into the fire alarm works like a charm -- and still leaves the detector operable.
Use the smoke alarm in another room and buy a temperature alarm for the kitchen instead.
A temperature alarm is activated when either the temperature becomes high or if the temperature suddenly rises rapidly.
Depending on how handy you are with a soldering iron, you could hack the detector itself to add a switch between the battery lead and the rest of the electronics. This doesn't solve the problem of forgetting to turn it back on when you're done, but it makes it a heck of a lot easier to turn off and back on than by taking the battery out. It should be said that if you are going to create such a Franken-detector, you should check that it's not illegal or disallowed by your lease, if you have one, and test it extensively before counting on it to save you in an emergency.
The easiest way is what I do. My smoke alarms constantly go off everyday every time we cook as well and it won’t stop. It’s very annoying and deafening. I tried removing the batteries and that doesn’t even work and it still constantly goes off.
I put a piece of tape over the fire detector speaker and the alarm is only 20-40% of what it normally is. This way:
You're still being “safe” and can hear the alarm if it goes off for real smoke.
It’s not deafening loud and annoying anymore.
So even when it goes off now I can cook in peace and not be so annoyed.
An apartment I lived in had detectors that went off while cooking. They put a light cloth filter cover that went over then secured it with a rubber band. According to them if the smoke built up in an actual fire it would penetrate and still set the alarm off. As an alternative to that, after I moved I would use a jay cloth and secure it with a rubber band. When I tested it with burning paper below it it still went off but it did eliminate the false cooking alarms. It's not really pretty but it worked, even if just put up temporarily put while cooking.