why is my fire alarm going off

Why Is My Fire Alarm Going Off?

When your fire alarm is going off randomly, it can be frustrating to figure out why it’s happening. It’s especially if you live in an apartment building or if you’re trying to sleep! Fire alarms can go off for a number of reasons, some more concerning than others.

Here are 10 reasons why your fire alarm is going off:

smoke cooking

1. It’s From Smoke from Cooking

A common reason why your fire alarm is going off is if you are cooking and producing smoke. Smoke from your oven, stove, toaster, microwave, or any other cooking appliance can cause smoke that’ll make your alarm go off especially if you have an alarm right in your kitchen. Be sure to use caution (and proper oil) when you are cooking to prevent this.

steam and humidity can cause fire alarm to go off

2. It’s From Steam or Humidity

Depending on the type of fire alarm you have, it may be going off due to excessive humidity in the air or steam from hot water in your sink or shower. High humidity carries dense moisture particles that your smoke detector may confuse for smoke particles. In extreme cases, the air is dense enough to scatter the light beam of a photoelectric sensor or cling onto the ions in an ionization chamber. No need for worry here, just disperse the steam by turning on a fan!

bugs in house

3. There Are Bugs In It

There are tiny vents that lead in/out of a fire alarm that tiny bugs can crawl into and mess with the sensors causing it to go off.

fire alarm in bad spot

4. It’s In A Bad Spot

Although you should have a fire alarm in every room at your property, it is likely that it will go off more often if it’s in places like your kitchen, attic, basement, or bathroom.


5. It’s Because Of Your Fireplace

If you have a fire alarm near your fireplace and the smoke from the fire isn’t properly venting up through your chimney, it could make your fire alarm go off.

cleaning chemicals in the air

6. It’s Because Of Chemicals

When using chemicals like strong cleaning products or painting, the fumes may cause your fire alarm to sound. Make sure for the safety of you and the people at your property and to prevent your fire alarm from mistakenly going off to ventilate when doing such activities like cleaning or any home remodeling/repairs.

old fire alarm

7. It’s Old

Fire alarms have a life expectancy of around 10 years, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). When your fire or smoke alarm gets too old, it may not function properly and go off sporadically.


8. It’s Because Of Dust

Dust can get trapped in the vents of your alarm, just like bugs, and mess with its sensors causing it to sound.    

change batteries on fire alarm often

9. It’s Because The Battery Is Low

We’ve all heard the dreaded chirp of a fire or smoke alarm with a low battery. Be sure to change out the battery as soon as you hear it chirp so that there is no lapse in protection for you, your family or staff/clients, or your property.

fire damage

10. It’s Because There’s A Fire

The most obvious reason why your fire alarm is going off: there’s a fire! Get out as fast as possible and call 911. Make sure when you are exiting your property that you stay as low as possible as standing up and inhaling smoke for even a second can cause damage to your lungs and possibly cause you to pass out. After the fire department comes out, your next call should be to a fire damage restoration company. Usually fires result in not only fire damage, but also smoke and soot damage, water damage, and sometimes even mold damage if a restoration company isn’t called soon enough.

Rhode Island Restoration is available 24/7 for your fire damage restoration needs for any residential or commercial property in Rhode Island.

Your Local Fire Damage Professionals