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Too sensitive smoke alarm


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#1 dockhl

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 08:32 PM

I don't know if this is the place to post or not but............

I am in a new house, and have a smoke alarm in the hallway outside the kitchen that is going off every time I have the oven above 350' (or so). fine, as long as it is closed but when you take something out of the oven, (no smoke mind you, just heat) about a minute later it is shrieking. :hmmm:

We made toast in the toaster oven this weekend......THAT set it off ! :angry:

I am ready to disable it, which I know would be stupid, but tonight I made biscuits (425') and the dog spent 1/2 hour outside in the rain because he was so flippin' scared ! (He's a little nervous....)

can I decrease the sensitivity?

K

#2 mochihead

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:47 PM

I used to have that problem, too, in the last house I lived in. I would boil water and the alarm would go off. I ended up hanging a towel over the alarm before I cooked anything to avoid the alarm going off, then took it off later when I was done cooking.

#3 Beth Wilson

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 09:53 PM

This is funny! I set mine off 3 times tonight for dinner. Hubby says "Going to be a great dinner if I set it off 3 times in one night!" Usually is just goes off once.

I also would love to know if there is a solution to this problem. I like toast in the morning and I have set it off almost every single morning. Moved the toaster around the kitchen to 5 different spots and it still goes off.

I have re-discovered cold cereal as a result since I can't seem to take such loud noises in the morning.

#4 prasantrin

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 10:26 PM

If you have a fan (electric type), aim it at the smoke alarm before you start using the oven (or cooking). It's a bit of a hassle, but it will do the trick. The only other option I can think of would be to replace it with a less sensitive model.

#5 halogenic

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 11:04 PM

I hate smoke detectors, but my fiance and roomate won't let me take the Toast Alarm down. I just cover it with a towel, if I think it's going to be a high-heat stovetop affair, I dampen said towel slightly.

#6 Sony

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 09:26 AM

I've also heard that covering smoke alarms with a shower cap can be a temporary fix for the problem. But man, from making (what I assume is unburnt) toast in the oven?

#7 Margo

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 09:29 AM

We've yanked the batteries out of all of ours. :hmmm:

I was an adult before smoke alarms became a necessity, so stupidly or not, I'm comfortable living without one. Or three.

Edited: prepositions.

Edited by Margo, 24 January 2008 - 09:30 AM.

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#8 dockhl

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 09:43 AM

Well, the house has several, so maybe I'll just pull the batteries out of this one. I am glad to hear I am not alone (why? That's SICK !) and cannot imagine climbing up a ladder to put a shower cap over the damned thing every time we want to make toast.....

:laugh: :laugh:

#9 abooja

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 09:54 AM

The smoke alarm in my Queens apartment used to go off whenever I would shower. The last place, only occasionally. Now that we're renting a three-story townhouse, with smoke alarms on each floor, every little thing sets them off, and simultaneously. I bake a lot of breads and pizzas and find that simply preheating the oven at high temperatures will set them off, and that's without even opening the door. My solution? Turn on the vent fan above the stove and, sometimes, crack open the kitchen window. Works every time.

#10 dockhl

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 10:42 AM

The smoke alarm in my Queens apartment used to go off whenever I would shower.  The last place, only occasionally.  Now that we're renting a three-story townhouse, with smoke alarms on each floor, every little thing sets them off, and simultaneously.  I bake a lot of breads and pizzas and find that simply preheating the oven at high temperatures will set them off, and that's without even opening the door.  My solution?  Turn on the vent fan above the stove and, sometimes, crack open the kitchen window.  Works every time.

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Well, unfortunately, this is going off with the front door and kitchen door open, and the vent fan on. :sad: Thanks for the suggestion, tho. :wink:

#11 Hest88

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 11:29 AM

Yeah, in my last apartment I took the batteries out of the smoke detector. In my current house the kitchen alarm supposedly detects heat instead of smoke (so the alarm company said), which is a much better option for those of us who actually cook!

#12 dockhl

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 11:34 AM

Peggy~
I never knew there were different types. This one must detect heat, which is worse !

#13 JohnnyH

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 12:21 PM

We've yanked the batteries out of all of ours.  :hmmm:

I was an adult before smoke alarms became a necessity, so stupidly or not, I'm comfortable living without one. Or three.

Edited: prepositions.

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Same.
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#14 Raoul Duke

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 12:45 PM

Same problem of the alarm being triggered by heat and/or smoke, so I use the fan trick and it works well. My issue is that we have 13 smoke detectors in the house that are linked together, so when one goes off, you get the picture. The three cats and two dogs seem to be tolerating it now. Dockhl, is this a Paso thing?
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#15 dockhl

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 01:52 PM

Maybe so, Raoul :wink: ; I think Murray would have a nervous breakdown if 13 went off !

Poor guy was tormented for about a month by a microwave that would be randomly, in the middle of the night, whatever. He'd sit outside, shivering, to get away from that nasty microwave ! I wonder what kind of kitchen trauma happeed to him in his puppyhood ? :unsure:

#16 qrn

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 01:52 PM

If it is battery operated, Move it down the hall just outside of the bedroom door.
Its only a couple of screws...If its hardwired, shut it off and put a new battery operated one down the hall....
Bud

#17 Linda Rose

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 01:52 PM

I don't know if this is the place to post or not but............

I am in a new house, and have a smoke alarm in the hallway outside the kitchen that is going off every time I have the oven above 350' (or so). fine, as long as it is closed but when you take something out of the oven, (no smoke mind you, just heat) about a minute later it is shrieking.  :hmmm:

We made toast in the toaster oven this weekend......THAT set it off !  :angry:

I am ready to disable it, which I know would be stupid, but tonight I made biscuits (425') and the dog spent 1/2 hour outside in the rain because he was so flippin' scared ! (He's a little nervous....)

can I decrease the sensitivity?

K

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We have a smoke detector with a "mute" function. Push a button and it shuts up, except for a once a minute chirp, for 15 minutes.
There's one here that has a remote to do this. Great for kitchens and outside steamy bathrooms.

#18 Megan Blocker

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 01:54 PM

I don't know if this is the place to post or not but............

I am in a new house, and have a smoke alarm in the hallway outside the kitchen that is going off every time I have the oven above 350' (or so). fine, as long as it is closed but when you take something out of the oven, (no smoke mind you, just heat) about a minute later it is shrieking.  :hmmm:

We made toast in the toaster oven this weekend......THAT set it off !  :angry:

I am ready to disable it, which I know would be stupid, but tonight I made biscuits (425') and the dog spent 1/2 hour outside in the rain because he was so flippin' scared ! (He's a little nervous....)

can I decrease the sensitivity?

K

View Post

Mine doesn't beep when the battery is out, so I take the battery out when I start cooking and put it back in when I'm done. I like to flirt with danger.
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#19 dockhl

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 02:48 PM

Would that it were that easy.

High ceilings+short cook=ladder in the hallway to remove battery............. :sad:

If I pull out the battery, on my demise, please don't point the insurance companies at this thread ! :wink:

#20 Megan Blocker

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 02:49 PM

Would that it were that easy.

High ceilings+short cook=ladder in the hallway to remove battery............. :sad:

If I pull out the battery, on my demise, please don't point the insurance companies at this thread !  :wink:

View Post

Yup, same deal here. I have to climb up on a chair and streeeetch to take it out. Unless some chivalrous friend is around to do it for me.
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#21 -sheila mooney

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 04:56 PM

Would that it were that easy.

High ceilings+short cook=ladder in the hallway to remove battery............. :sad:

If I pull out the battery, on my demise, please don't point the insurance companies at this thread !  :wink:

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right. the day i pull the blinkin' thing out is the day my apt is consumed by fire. i can just see it. which is why i don't pull it out.

#22 rooftop1000

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 05:34 PM

Mine always goes off when I come inside from BBQing...

ummmm yes dinner is done


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#23 miles717

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 05:59 PM

Would that it were that easy.

High ceilings+short cook=ladder in the hallway to remove battery............. :sad:

If I pull out the battery, on my demise, please don't point the insurance companies at this thread !  :wink:

View Post


right. the day i pull the blinkin' thing out is the day my apt is consumed by fire. i can just see it. which is why i don't pull it out.

View Post


I have a bit of experience with fire protection devices having spent the better part of the last twelve years in a position where I dealt with security systems on a daily basis. I'll try to offer some good advice.

If you're having problems with one detector and it's a battery powered consumer device, simply relocate it to another part of the home where it will be less likely to be affected by kitchen activities.

If part of a hardwired system you have a couple of options. Unfortunately, many times, technicians or electricians installing systems don't think very carefully about where they place detectors and may not fully test and adjust them at the time of installation. The thought that the best location for a smoke detector might not be right outside the shower or in the kitchen may not occur to the installer. It's also possible that placement of a device may be limited by how something was prewired or where the technician can run a wire. The good news is that most hardwired devices can be adjusted for sensitivity. If they were never fully tested and adjusted when installed, it's quite possible that they're set to full sensitivity and can still be adjusted with a relative minimum of fuss to make them less of an annoyance to the tenant or homeowner.

If it's part of a security system/burglar alarm, contact your dealer and ask that they adjust your detectors as needed and/or replace the problem device(s) with a heat detector instead of a smoke/heat detector. This is particularly important if your system is monitored (they call you and/or dispatch the police/fire department any time your system goes off), as you may be subject to fines for excessive false alarms. Any good security dealer will be very happy to work with you to "tighten up" your system, as the dealer wants you to be satisfied with the system they've installed and they may also be subject to fines for excessive false alarms.

If part of a hardwired system with power supplied by the building power (i.e. you don't have a security system but when one goes off, they all go off and/or you never have to replace batteries), you may need to contact an electrician to adjust the detector, relocate the problem device, remove it from the system, or replace it with a different type of device less susceptible to false alarms.

In the event the offending device is part of a hardwired system powered by the building power, it's quite possible the detectors are required by the local building or fire code, so any changes to the system should be performed by a licensed professional. If you're in a multi unit building, any changes should only be handled by the building management.

Hope that proves to be helpful.
-Mike-

#24 dockhl

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 07:32 PM

miles717~

thank you so much for all that good information ! I'm in a private home with high ceilings and a poorly located battery operated detector. Sounds like I should relocate it around the corner to the laundry room or something. Prolly a better option than ripping the damned thing out, huh ? :laugh:

#25 qrn

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 07:45 PM

Would that it were that easy.

High ceilings+short cook=ladder in the hallway to remove battery............. :sad:

If I pull out the battery, on my demise, please don't point the insurance companies at this thread !  :wink:

View Post


right. the day i pull the blinkin' thing out is the day my apt is consumed by fire. i can just see it. which is why i don't pull it out.

View Post


I have a bit of experience with fire protection devices having spent the better part of the last twelve years in a position where I dealt with security systems on a daily basis. I'll try to offer some good advice.

If you're having problems with one detector and it's a battery powered consumer device, simply relocate it to another part of the home where it will be less likely to be affected by kitchen activities.

If part of a hardwired system you have a couple of options. Unfortunately, many times, technicians or electricians installing systems don't think very carefully about where they place detectors and may not fully test and adjust them at the time of installation. The thought that the best location for a smoke detector might not be right outside the shower or in the kitchen may not occur to the installer. It's also possible that placement of a device may be limited by how something was prewired or where the technician can run a wire. The good news is that most hardwired devices can be adjusted for sensitivity. If they were never fully tested and adjusted when installed, it's quite possible that they're set to full sensitivity and can still be adjusted with a relative minimum of fuss to make them less of an annoyance to the tenant or homeowner.

If it's part of a security system/burglar alarm, contact your dealer and ask that they adjust your detectors as needed and/or replace the problem device(s) with a heat detector instead of a smoke/heat detector. This is particularly important if your system is monitored (they call you and/or dispatch the police/fire department any time your system goes off), as you may be subject to fines for excessive false alarms. Any good security dealer will be very happy to work with you to "tighten up" your system, as the dealer wants you to be satisfied with the system they've installed and they may also be subject to fines for excessive false alarms.

If part of a hardwired system with power supplied by the building power (i.e. you don't have a security system but when one goes off, they all go off and/or you never have to replace batteries), you may need to contact an electrician to adjust the detector, relocate the problem device, remove it from the system, or replace it with a different type of device less susceptible to false alarms.

In the event the offending device is part of a hardwired system powered by the building power, it's quite possible the detectors are required by the local building or fire code, so any changes to the system should be performed by a licensed professional. If you're in a multi unit building, any changes should only be handled by the building management.

Hope that proves to be helpful.

View Post

isn't the recommended placement outside the door of the "main"bedroom, so that if there is a problem in the middle of the night the occupants will be alerted???
Bud

#26 MSRadell

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Posted 24 January 2008 - 07:58 PM

Smoke detectors are made with two different types of detection technology, photoelectric and ionization. Any individual detector may use either technology or both. The ones that use both technologies are much less prone to false alarms, unfortunately they also cost more so most builders (and homeowners) buy the cheaper ones that only use one technology and thus complain about false alarms. Go to a reputable dealer and ask for one that uses both technologies and your problem will go away!

As for heat detection some smoke detectors also contained a heat detector that is separate from the smoke detector, these are normally set to go off at 135° but are available for up to 185° for use attics and other high heat areas.
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#27 Blondelle

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 06:55 AM

Buy an inexpensive shower cap, and try putting that over the alarm before you cook!

#28 dougal

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 07:44 AM

... I'm in a private home with high ceilings and a poorly located battery operated detector. Sounds like I should relocate it around the corner to the laundry room or something. Prolly a better option than ripping the damned thing out, huh ?  :laugh:

View Post


Battery operated ones are usually mounted with just a couple of screws.
Being quite light weight they don't even have to be big screws, let alone into anything seriously solid.

So, they are really pretty easy to install or relocate.

Having such alarms installed, yet without a battery kinda defeats the object...
... and the object of an *audible* alarm is to save life, by alerting people in time to make an escape.
Not to protect property.
For that you would have a sprinkler system installed!

As to where a good place for a smoke alarm might be -- that depends on the house!

If there were a fire, the smoke would be trying to rise.
Smoke tends to travel along the ceiling, looking for a way out.
So any staircase provides a chimney for the smoke and therefore a prime location for an alarm (or two, or more). Another reason for alarming the staircase is that it is probably the primary means of escape from upstairs. You want to know the moment there's any smoke anywhere near a staircase!

For a flat I'd locate smoke detectors on my exit route, and anywhere the ceiling was higher than average - as that's where the smoke will try and flow to.
A single storey building isn't quite as critical, since people should be able to escape through the windows. But if you have bars over the windows, you might as well be 10 storeys up -- you'll need to exit via the doors... But outside occupied bedrooms sounds very sensible.

As a general comment, I'd suggest that trying to ensure that the airflow through the kitchen (hey, and the bathroom) should be to the outside - rather than to the rest of the house. You'll probably need some definite form of active or passive extraction, but you'd like the house to vent through these rooms, rather than have them vent into the core of the house.
This will have the effect of reducing problems with damp (and greasy dirt), as well as with smells, AND smoke alarms.
If the airflow goes the wrong way, it might (quite apart from smoke alarm questions) be worthwhile trying to turn it round!
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