A residential smoke alarm sounds at around 85dB; plenty loud enough to interrupt even the deepest slumber.

And while the life-saving siren provides a much-needed early warning in an emergency, it’s a huge nuisance when it triggers unnecessarily.

Also known as “nuisance alarms,” false alarms are so ear-splittingly annoying many homeowners remove the batteries to prevent them from reoccurring. Tragically, this fatal mistake kills dozens of Australians each year. Non-functioning smoke alarms are the leading cause of preventable house fire deaths.

To discourage you from making the same deadly error, we’re covering the top seven reasons your smoke alarm might be beeping. By understanding what causes false alarms (or persistent beeping), you’ll be able to rectify the issue without putting yourself at risk.

The Battery’s Running Flat

Is your smoke alarm making a persistent, intermittent beeping sound? Chances are, your battery-operated smoke detectors are running flat. Smoke alarms are programmed to let out a continual high-pitched beep when the unit detects the battery is running low. Even 240v mains will have a removable backup battery that eventually needs replacing.

While the sound is undeniably infuriating, don’t succumb to the temptation and remove the battery. Instead, simply swap out the old battery for a new one—it only takes a few minutes and could save your life.

You’ve Burnt Your Toast

Overcooked food is the most common cause of a nuisance alarm. As smoke particles arise from your charred dinner and permeate through the air, they will enter the chamber of your smoke detector and trigger the alarm.

Depending on the sensitivity and location of your smoke alarm, even a slightly overcooked roast lamb could be enough to sound a nuisance alarm. However, the most common culprit is burnt toast—the resulting smoke could trigger an alarm from the other side of the house.

It’s Too Close to the Stove

As cooking is the biggest cause of nuisance alarms, it pays to get strategic about where you place your device. Positioning a smoke alarm within three metres of a stove or toaster is bound to result in nuisance alarms. Some homeowners avoid putting alarms in their kitchens altogether, placing a device in a nearby hallway instead.

Also, be wary of installing a smoke alarm close to a frequently used door or window. Drafts and sudden gusts can blow dust into the chamber, which the device may confuse with smoke.

An Insect Has Crawled In

If your device randomly triggers a false alarm despite being far from the kitchen, it might be housing a wayward insect. The chamber inside a smoke alarm is just wide enough for a tiny insect to crawl in. Once inside, its little body can interfere with the sensors and trigger the alarm repeatedly.

A high-quality smoke alarm will come with an in-built anti-insect screen, although these aren’t always foolproof. It’s worth examining it to determine whether any insects have crawled inside.

There’s Too Much Steam

Steam causes the air to become dense, creating a high concentration of particles. When they enter the chamber of your smoke alarm, these particles may be thick enough to scatter the light beam and trigger the alarm.

For this reason, don’t install your smoke alarm inside a bathroom with a hot shower. Also, if your smoke alarm is located right outside your bathroom, escaping humidity could be causing the nuisance alarm.

Chemical Smells Are Wafting In

Strong chemical smells have been known to interfere with a smoke alarm. If you’re in the process of deep cleaning or renovating your home, some of the chemicals could be causing a nuisance alarm.

Thankfully, no matter how pungent, non-chemical odours like dirty laundry and bodily gasses generally won’t trigger a smoke alarm.

It’s Too Dusty

Vacuuming your alarm is essential to ensure it keeps functioning correctly. If too much dust accumulates in the entryway to the chamber, it can prevent smoke from flowing in. That could delay or prevent the alarm from triggering in an emergency.

Furthermore, some smoke detectors can mistake dust particles for smoke and trigger the alarm. Therefore, it’s best to clean your smoke alarms annually.

Browse Our Catalogue Today

Not only are nuisance alarms annoying, but they can be deadly should you succumb to temptation and remove the batteries. However, if properly positioned and maintained, a high-quality smoke alarm from a trusted manufacturer like Lifesaver will rarely trigger a nuisance alarm.

If you’re looking for a Lifesaver smoke alarm in Australia, then take a look at our catalogue today. We offer a wide range of reputable, high-quality products, so you can buy smoke alarms with confidence.