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Why Is My Home Fire Alarm Going Off for No Reason?

Updated April 17, 2017

Smoke detectors are sensitive to changes in the air and sometimes sound an alarm when a fire isn't present. Installing smoke detectors properly reduces the chances of a false alarm.

Causes

Changes in moisture, such as moisture from a shower or steam from cooking, may set off a smoke detector. Dust can set off smoke detectors, as can fresh paint fumes. Smoke detectors may also beep repeatedly when their batteries are dying.

Warning

Do not take the batteries out of a smoke alarm when it sounds a false alarm. You may forget to replace the batteries later, leaving your home and family in danger. Fanning with a newspaper may silence the alarm. You can also temporarily silence some models.

Considerations

Installing smoke detectors according to the manufacturer's instructions reduces the chances of a false alarm. For example, you shouldn't install detectors near windows or air ducts because changes in air flow may set off the alarm or interfere with its functioning. In addition, remember to clean your detector regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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About the Author

Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.