Smoke Detector Too Close to the Kitchen

What's a better solution?


November 26, 2020

2020-11-11 blog-images 46

If you have a kitchen smoke alarm, you’re probably all too familiar with the problems detectors can bring. You can see your dinner isn’t turning out as planned, and then the loud beeping from your fire alarm throws in a bit of additional criticism.

Now you’re frantically trying to save your meal while stopping the noise. This nuisance in the kitchen has driven some people to disable their kitchen fire alarms. The problem with that is it’s dangerous and, in some places, it’s illegal. The good news is there are better options!

Why you shouldn’t disable your alarm

Almost one-third of all residential fire-related deaths in the United States result from homes that have disabled or neglected to install fire alarms in their home.

When you first hear that beeping in the kitchen, you might try taking out the batteries in the alarm, or if it’s wired in, removing it from the wall entirely. You might think, “I just need to stop this alarm going off while I finish cooking dinner,” but after eating dinner and doing dishes, that disabled alarm is likely the last thing on your mind.

With that in mind, make sure you:

  • Check batteries regularly in fire alarms

  • Test your alarms once a year to make sure they’re working

  • Never cover your smoke detector as a method of disabling it

  • Do not remove the batteries to keep the alarm from going off

  • Have a fire escape plan for you and your family

Do you have the right alarm?

There are two types of fire alarms: ionization and photoelectric. Some people find out the hard way that the type of fire alarm they have installed in their kitchen is the wrong one.

The ionization alarm

Most people have ionization alarms in their home. Ionization alarms work best for fires with large, fast-forming flames. Inside, they have two electrically charged metal plates. If smoke breaks the connection between the plates, it will cause the alarm to go off.

These plates also can become more sensitive over time if they get corrosion buildup. These failing points are why photoelectric alarms are a better choice for areas like the kitchen.

The photoelectric alarm

Instead of metal plates, photoelectric alarms use a beam of light aimed away from a sensor. Smoke can reflect the light, and if the reflected light hits the sensor, the alarm goes off.

This type of alarm is much more accurate for the slow-burning fires that might spring up in your kitchen if, for instance, you unintentionally place a wooden cutting board on a hot burner.

When to update your smoke detectors

The National Fire Protection Association recommends you replace your smoke detectors every ten years. When looking around your home, you may realize some of your smoke alarms have been around much longer than that.

The technology in smoke detectors has improved significantly in the past few years, and smart alarms lead the way in safety. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that one of the significant benefits of a smart fire alarm is reducing false alarms from things like kitchen cooking. Additionally, intelligent smoke alarm technology will improve home smoke alarms’ performance without a significant cost increase.

Interested in a smart home technology and increased home safety? Contact Brinks Home™.

Jason Stevens is a senior writer for Brinks Home. He is a "tech guy" who enjoys sharing home security and automation tips with others.

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