“My Smoke Detector Goes Off When It’s Cold”: Steps to Avoid

BY KRISTA BRUTON

August 21,2020

1 14 my-smoke-detector-goes-off-when-it’s-cold-out Desktop

A ringing smoke detector is  always a serious matter. This is true during a real fire emergency. It’s also true if the smoke detector malfunctions. After all, a security device like this should  be working properly at all times. 

There are times when a smoke detector seems to go off for no reason. One of these times is when it gets cold. The reason might be surprising: batteries don’t operate at optimum performance when they are very cold. 

Cold Weather and Batteries 

Temperature and batteries have a direct relationship. To understand why, it’s important to know how a battery works. ThoughCo  explains: 

“The electric current generated by a battery is produced when a connection is made between its positive and negative terminals. When the terminals are connected, a chemical reaction is initiated that generates electrons to supply the current of the battery. Lowering the temperature causes chemical reactions to proceed more slowly, so if a battery is used at a low temperature, then less current is produced than at a higher temperature. As the batteries rundown they quickly reach the point where they cannot deliver enough current to keep up with the demand. If the battery is warmed up again it will operate normally.” 

If the temperature drops, the battery in the smoke detector has a more difficult time keeping it working. When batteries are low, in a smoke detector, the smoke detector usually beeps every few minutes as a signal that the batteries are low. 

The Carbon Monoxide Angle 

There is another time the smoke detector might go off in cold weather. It may seem like a false alarm. However, the alarm might actually be signaling that something serious is happening. Some smoke alarms also double as carbon monoxide detectors. 

When it gets cold outside, it’s normal for people to crank up the heat. Furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces — these are some solutions to warming up a home.  Sterling Home Inspections explains why this might be a problem: 

“Every fuel-burning appliance in your home, including a gas furnace, produces some levels of carbon monoxide.” 

If it’s not the batteries,  it could be carbon monoxide. The presence of carbon monoxide is obviously more serious than low batteries. Even if it’s warm inside, it’s easy to see, now, why the smoke detector might go off if it’s cold outside. 

Troubleshooting for Solutions 

The smoke detector might ring if it’s cold inside due to weak batteries. It may also ring if a fuel-burning appliance emits too much carbon dioxide (if the smoke detector doubles as a carbon dioxide detector). Here are a few things to try while troubleshooting the problem: 

  • Replace the batteries. 

  • Reset the power breaker if the smoke detector is hardwired. 

  • Purchase a carbon monoxide detector which shows CO levels. 

  • Verify there is no dust or debris inside the smoke detector. 

  • Contact the manufacturer if the problem persists.  

Contact Us 

Fire safety is a fundamental part of home safety. At Brinks Home Security™, we offer home security solutions to include smoke detectors. Our smoke detectors are monitored, which gives an added level of security. Contact us  to learn more about how our smoke detectors would be a great addition to your home security plan. During your call, you’ll get a free quote for our smoke detectors and any additional products you might be interested in. 

Krista Bruton is a DFW-based writer who covers smart home security and consumer protection. 

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“My Smoke Detector Goes Off When It’s Cold”: Steps to Avoid

BY KRISTA BRUTON

August 21,2020

A ringing smoke detector is  always a serious matter. This is true during a real fire emergency. It’s also true if the smoke detector malfunctions. After all, a security device like this should  be working properly at all times. 

There are times when a smoke detector seems to go off for no reason. One of these times is when it gets cold. The reason might be surprising: batteries don’t operate at optimum performance when they are very cold. 

Cold Weather and Batteries 

Temperature and batteries have a direct relationship. To understand why, it’s important to know how a battery works. ThoughCo  explains: 

“The electric current generated by a battery is produced when a connection is made between its positive and negative terminals. When the terminals are connected, a chemical reaction is initiated that generates electrons to supply the current of the battery. Lowering the temperature causes chemical reactions to proceed more slowly, so if a battery is used at a low temperature, then less current is produced than at a higher temperature. As the batteries rundown they quickly reach the point where they cannot deliver enough current to keep up with the demand. If the battery is warmed up again it will operate normally.” 

If the temperature drops, the battery in the smoke detector has a more difficult time keeping it working. When batteries are low, in a smoke detector, the smoke detector usually beeps every few minutes as a signal that the batteries are low. 

The Carbon Monoxide Angle 

There is another time the smoke detector might go off in cold weather. It may seem like a false alarm. However, the alarm might actually be signaling that something serious is happening. Some smoke alarms also double as carbon monoxide detectors. 

When it gets cold outside, it’s normal for people to crank up the heat. Furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces — these are some solutions to warming up a home.  Sterling Home Inspections explains why this might be a problem: 

“Every fuel-burning appliance in your home, including a gas furnace, produces some levels of carbon monoxide.” 

If it’s not the batteries,  it could be carbon monoxide. The presence of carbon monoxide is obviously more serious than low batteries. Even if it’s warm inside, it’s easy to see, now, why the smoke detector might go off if it’s cold outside. 

Troubleshooting for Solutions 

The smoke detector might ring if it’s cold inside due to weak batteries. It may also ring if a fuel-burning appliance emits too much carbon dioxide (if the smoke detector doubles as a carbon dioxide detector). Here are a few things to try while troubleshooting the problem: 

  • Replace the batteries. 

  • Reset the power breaker if the smoke detector is hardwired. 

  • Purchase a carbon monoxide detector which shows CO levels. 

  • Verify there is no dust or debris inside the smoke detector. 

  • Contact the manufacturer if the problem persists.  

Contact Us 

Fire safety is a fundamental part of home safety. At Brinks Home Security™, we offer home security solutions to include smoke detectors. Our smoke detectors are monitored, which gives an added level of security. Contact us  to learn more about how our smoke detectors would be a great addition to your home security plan. During your call, you’ll get a free quote for our smoke detectors and any additional products you might be interested in. 

Krista Bruton is a DFW-based writer who covers smart home security and consumer protection. 

Share via:

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