How To Stop Annoying Smoke Detector False Alarms

published Jan 20, 2012
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(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

You know you’re a bad cook when you use the smoke detector as a kitchen timer.” Har har. Real funny, guys. The reality is the false smoke alarm thing happens to everyone at least once—whether you’re a skilled home chef, a frozen pizza in the oven type of cook, or someone who likes a hot, steamy shower. Here are a few ways to shut the thing up safely.

Whenever you’re tampering with a safety device, you want to tread lightly. If you want to keep your smoke alarm from going off when you’re cooking or showering, there’s a right and a wrong way to do it.

Lifehacker and StackExchange have each taken on the topic of false smoke alarms recently, but there’s a bevy of advice all over the web—some good, some bad and some very dangerous.

What NOT to do:
Pull it off the ceiling or take out the batteries. You’ll forget to set it back up again (admit it!).

How you should handle it:
Hit the mute button. Google your smoke detector’s make and model to find out if your alarm is equipped with a mute button. Many models have features that will disable the alarm for a short set period of time, usually around 15 minutes.

The long-term solution:
Switch to a photoelectric smoke detector. These devices detect smoke in a different way, which reduces instances of cooking or shower steam “false alarms.”