Q:

Why does my smoke alarm go off for no reason?

A:

Quick Answer

Smoke detectors that sound when smoke is not present may suffer from an electrical problem. The smoke sensor may be at fault as well. Some sound if the battery is low and needs replacement.

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Full Answer

Smoke detectors are essential safety devices, and they have saved many lives through the years. When they sound when smoke is not present, however, they can become a nuisance. While smoke detectors have robust electrical wiring, their wiring may short-circuit or otherwise break. On occasion, faulty wiring can cause the detector to sound in the absence of smoke.

Smoke detectors are sensitive, and they require only a small amount of smoke to trigger. Because of their sensitivity, smoke detector sensors might react to the movement of air, dust or other factors. Because smoke detectors contain highly radioactive elements, those with fault sensors may need to be replaced.

Smoke detectors may beep if their batteries are running low, but many people interpret this as the smoke detector malfunctioning. If the beeping is only occasional, replacing the battery is likely to fix the problem. However, owners may wish to check the smoke detector's manual first; occasional beeping can also be caused by a malfunction, and it may not work properly if there is a fire.

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