How to Fix a Hyper Sensitive Smoke Detector Alarm

How to Fix a Hyper Sensitive Smoke Detector Alarm

Smoke detectors can be life-saving devices. But one that beeps for no reason will drive you up the wall. Keep reading to learn about further causes of smoke alarm hypersensitivity and how you can address this problem.

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How Do Smoke Detector Alarms Work?

Smoke detectors are essential indoor safety devices that alert residents when a fire is present. You can choose between two types of smoke detectors for your home or business:

  • Photoelectric: Smoke particles enter the device and disperse a light beam, pointing it toward a photocell. This causes the alarm to sound.
  • Ionization: Smoke enters the device and attaches to ions that surround the electrodes. This process initiates the alarm.

The alarm only sounds when smoke or other particles enter the internal chamber of the smoke detector. The main problem is that the chamber can mistake non-smoke particles—such as steam or air—for smoke particles and sound the alarm unnecessarily. Read on to learn more about why this occurs and how to stop it.

6 Reasons Why My Smoke Detector Alarm Is Too Sensitive?

Wondering why your smoke detector alarm keeps going off for no apparent reason? Take a look below to figure out why this keeps happening.

Smoke Detector Alarm Is Too Sensitive

1. Placement

Smoke detectors installed near steamy bathrooms or appliances that produce normal amounts of smoke—such as ovens, microwaves, and stovetops—may develop a hypersensitivity to emitted particles. Smoke detectors installed near a window or door can also experience the same issue, as they mistake a draft of air for smoke. 

2. Dirty Smoke Detector

The internal chamber of a smoke detector fills with contaminants over time, such as dirt and dust, whose particles resemble smoke particles, and set off the alarm. Your best defense against this problem is to clean the smoke detector periodically to prevent particle buildup. You can use either a vacuum hose or a cleaning rag.

3. Old Batteries

Old or dead batteries can weaken the smoke detector’s ability to work properly, causing it to beep constantly until the batteries are replaced. You should replace smoke detector batteries once or twice annually to ensure proper alarm function.

4. Old Age

No smoke detector will last forever. Most last around eight years. Like any other household device, smoke detectors deteriorate over time. If your smoke detector alarm frequently goes off when no smoke is present, it’s probably time for an upgrade. 

5. Excess humidity

Humidity can trigger a smoke detector alarm. The device’s internal chamber may confuse moisture particles for smoke particles.

6. Strong Chemicals Nearby

Smoke detectors can be sensitive to particles emitted by strong chemicals. Keep this in mind when painting, cleaning, or other indoor projects.

How to Adjust the Sensitivity of a Smoke Detector?

If you want to adjust the sensitivity of your smoke detector, so the alarm only sounds when actual smoke is detected, follow this simple six-step process:

  1. Take off the cover of the smoke detector using a screwdriver
  2. Clean the sensor with a cloth
  3. Remove the data card from the circuit board’s socket
  4. Use the tip of the screwdriver to adjust the data card’s tabs
  5. Return the data card to the socket
  6. Put the cover back on, and secure the screws

Expert HVAC and Electrical Services in Allentown, PA

Whether you need a smoke detector inspection or would like to get a new smoke detector installed, Maitz Home Services has you covered. As the trusted name for prompt and reliable HVAC service in Allentown, Pennsylvania, for over 50 years, we know how to get the job done right the first time so you can enjoy optimal safety and comfort year-round. Book with us today.