“My smoke alarm keeps ringing when there’s no smoke in the house!”

“Every month or so my smoke alarm beeps for no reason!”

“My house isn’t on fire but my alarm seems to think it is!”

These are just some of a range of complaints that we tend to receive when smoke alarms blare, beep and blast. Despite being a household essential, the smoke alarm is subject to its fair share of criticism. That unexplained ringing that you sometimes hear and may, however, be part of the device’s ongoing, self-care.


Typically, smoke alarms are built with their own ‘end of battery/end of life warning.’ That pulsating, far-reaching sound that you hear (otherwise unexpectedly) – that could be your battery telling you it’s running low. It could also be a sign that it’s time to reinstall and to update; smoke alarms are only guaranteed to last 10 years, so be mindful of the date of installation.


Where’s your smoke alarm located? It could be debris, dust and dirt that has entered the device and interfered with the battery (thus causing the noise). Even insects and spiders can manoeuvre their way into your device. To avoid this, make sure the area is cleaned regularly, and keep an eye out for creepy critters.


It may not look like fire, and it may not warrant an alarm, but burnt toast, burnt pots/pans, or your neighbours wood fire are capable of triggering your device. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: your smoke alarm is still working, and will work in the event of a fire! Smoke alarms are designed to detect the slightest interference.


Steam can also be a common culprit. Even humidity can set off your smoke alarm. Use those bathroom fans when taking a shower!


Even if it’s not in front of you, and you can’t see it, there could still be a fire. Smoke detectors can sense things that you can’t – if nothing else can explain the beeping, it could be an electrical or hidden fire that you can’t quite pick up.

Be aware and be careful. A few irritating beeps are potentially life-saving. Don’t blame the detector, they’re just doing their job!