How to Avoid Your Smoke Detector Going Off When It’s Cold

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Your smoke detector going off is always a serious matter that you shouldn’t ignore—whether it’s caused by a fire, equipment malfunction, or something else. It’s crucial that the life safety devices in your home are always working properly. If not, it can lead to deadly consequences.

There are times when a smoke detector seemingly goes off for no reason, like after you shower or for being too close to the kitchen. Smoke detectors are very sensitive, and one of the surprising ways it can go off is due to the cold.

Cold Weather and Batteries 

Temperature and batteries have a direct relationship, and batteries don’t operate at their optimum performance when they’re cold. Batteries work when a connection is made by the battery’s positive and negative terminals, also known as the anode and cathode. This connection allows chemicals to convert into electrical energy, resulting in a current.

When the temperature lowers, the battery’s chemical reactions slow down or stop completely, and won’t be able to produce a current. Your batteries will become low, which can result in a malfunction of your smoke detector. When batteries are low the smoke detector will usually beep every few minutes or so to signal that the batteries need to be replaced.

To keep your smoke detector batteries in the best shape, you should always store them between 40° and 100° Fahrenheit. But be careful, batteries that are in an environment higher than 100° can also lead to a malfunction. While it may seem like a dull chore, it’s important that you replace the batteries in all your life safety devices every six months to a year.

Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide

There are other reasons besides batteries for why your smoke detector might go off in cold weather. You may think it’s a false alarm at first, but your smoke detector might be signaling that something severe is happening. Some smoke alarms also double as carbon monoxide detectors, so any chirp or beeping should be taken seriously. 

When it gets cold outside, it’s normal for people to crank up the heat. Using furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces, and stoves may be easy ways to warm up your home. However, you must be careful because these devices release carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. Too much carbon monoxide in your home is incredibly dangerous, and can lead to a fire, poisoning, or worse.

There are many simple ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, such as placing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the appropriate locations and checking your devices yearly to ensure they’re working properly.

Troubleshooting Your Smoke Detector 

Whether from weak batteries, high levels of carbon monoxide, or another issue, there are a few ways you can stop your smoke detector from beeping during cold weather.

  • Replace the batteries.

  • If your smoke detector is hardwired, reset the power breaker. If that doesn’t work, it may need to be replaced.

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector, which displays CO levels. Be sure to check it twice a year. 

  • Clear your smoke detector of dust and debris.

  • If the problem persists, contact the manufacturer. If necessary, a professional technician can come to evaluate your device.

Adding Smoke Detector to Your Home Security

Certain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be included in your home security allowing your monitoring company to keep an eye out when it goes off. Smoke detectors from Brinks Home™ automatically include professional monitoring at no extra cost. Call us today to speak to a specialist about the benefits of our smart safety devices.


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