Smoke alarm keeps going off!

stevie_2010May 12, 2010

Does anyone have this problem? My recent kitchen renovation brought my 1937 house up to code, which included putting in new smoke alarms all over the house that are wired into the electricity (not just battery-powered ones like we used to have). But whenever I have more than one thing going in the kitchen (e.g. boiling water and frying something simultaneously, or sauteing and baking at the same time) my smoke alarm goes off! Then every alarm in the house goes off. This completely freaks out my 4 year old! So I have to get up on a stool, push a little button on the detector, turn up the vent, go soothe my child. By the time I get done with all this whatever was on the stove really has burned.

It seems to be better if I put my vent on high every time. But why should I have to have a vent on if I am just boiling water? My vent is really noisy and part of my otr microwave. I didn't think to try it out before it was installed because I didn't really plan to use it that much. (My old kitchen had no vent at all.) When the vent is on high I can't hear my kids elsewhere in the house very well. This is so frustrating.

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That does not seem should contact the folks that set that up. Maybe your local gas & electric company can help you out.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 10:58PM
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About 2 years ago I replaced all the smoke detectors in my house. The old ones (made by BRK) had a habit of spontaneously going off in the middle of the night. They are all connected in the house so the whole house is going crazy. Not what you want at 3 am. Turns out that others had this same problem. It seems that particular model was prone to false alarms if the line voltage varied too much. The line voltage can vary at night as loads are reduced. After I replaced them all it seemed to fix that problem.

Yours may be a problem of a detector too close to the kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 5:44AM
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You really should not have a smoke detector in the kitchen. But if you are required to have one, get a different kind. There are two types. One picks up heat only. The other picks up heat and smoke/vapor. Change yours out to the kind that only picks up heat and you should be fine.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 9:14AM
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My old smoke alarms used to go off in the thunderstorm. My kids would freak out. We lived with it for 12 years (I know what was I thinking?) The last straw was they went off, of course they are all linked at three in the morning for no apparent reason while my mother was visiting. My mind is not coherent at 3 am and I went around the house to see if someone had broken in and set off the smoke alarms. I know, totally unreasonable. Why would the burglars want to announce themselves? Anyway, we replaced the smoke alarms and they haven't gone off since. Success!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 10:22AM
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Our hard wired smoke alarm goes off every time someone makes toast and the alarm is out in the open living area nowhere near the kitchen. The funny part is we have a wood burning stove and sometimes plumes of black smoke come into the house when someone opens the stove door and that has never set the smoke alarm off once. Those things have a mind of their own, I think.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 3:45PM
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I have the smoke alarm problem whenever I use my broiler. It freaks the dogs out, and my husband starts flinging windows/doors open so the whole neighborhood knows about it! LOL Now I cover the alarm with foil when I'm going to use the broiler. That usually does the trick. The hard part is forgetting to REMOVE the foil and then lying upstairs in bed wondering what the odds were that we'd have a fire that night...JK. But it's hard to remember to remove it.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 5:37PM
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Unless the building code has changed, or is different in your city, smoke detectors are usually only required in bedrooms and in hallways near bedroom doors. If you have one in your kitchen, you should have it removed, or replaced with a heat detector, as suggested above.

Call your contractor or the installer of your system. Explain the problem you're having, and they should be able to resolve it for you. A smoke detection system that constantly produces false alarms is not only a nuisance, it's dangerous.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 8:25PM
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Is your house a single story? If so and the alarms are in rooms or a hallway off the kitchen then, you may not be able to do much about it.

Part of your problem is your venting...if you don't have a decent range hood you're going to be putting smoke, etc. in the air at times that has nowhere to go but up to the ceiling...and then spread out to the adjacent rooms. If the alarms are far enough away the smoke, etc. may disperse enough so the alarms aren't triggered, but if you have a lot of smoke, steam, etc. that cannot disperse quickly enough, you will probably set off the alarms.

Find out if your alarms have a problem and whether you can remove the one(s) closest to the kitchen (but a kitchen is a common source of fires, so you may not be able to eliminate them). If you do everything you can and the alarms still keep going off, it may be time to consider getting a true range hood instead of an OTR MW/Hood...or at least get a better OTR MW/Hood that you'll actually use. (Consider a larger diameter duct and a remote blower so sound is reduced.)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 5:11AM
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When we remodeled at our old house and took some space from the top of the stairs we now had a smoke detector in the kitchen. Our vent was a recirculating fan - useless. Every time I used the broiler my 2 year son would push a chair under the smoke detector. He just wanted to speed up the process.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 8:11AM
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