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Smoke Detectors Going off Only at Night

By ChenDenny |

For those that own a smoke detector in their house, there is a possibility that this might have happened to you as well. Smoke alarms going off at night can be annoying. Imagine, suddenly waking up and realizing that it was a false alarm.

And it becomes more frustrating if the your smoke fire detector keeps going off at night because this is the time where most of us are in a relaxed state.

1. What are Photoelectric Smoke Alarms?

Photoelectric smoke alarms might sound intimidating and too scientific. However, it just means that the smoke alarms are triggered by the presence of a light source.

The smoke alarm is equipped with an LED light inside its chamber. This LED emits a light beam that forms a straight line inside the smoke alarm which could be deflected when smoke exists.

In a separate compartment of the equipment, a light sensor is positioned at an angle so that it is not the direct recipient of the light beam. As the smoke particles enter the detector, the light beams are disturbed. The more smoke particles come, the more scattered the light will be. As soon as the scattered light beam hits the sensor, this will trigger the alarm.

2. What Causes Smoke Alarms to Trigger Repetitively?

These are the common causes that trigger a smoke alarm to go off repeatedly:

Placement of Alarm:

The placement of alarms overheating appliances could naturally trigger an alarm, especially given the sensitivity of the smoke detector. Smoke detectors should be located placed ten-feet from your stove, oven, and others. Otherwise, it could falsely trigger an alarm.


Smoke alarms can also falsely trigger when placed in humid areas such as near your steamy bathroom shower, or on your bedroom if you have a humidifier. This is because the smoke buildup could easily be detected. This way, it is recommended to reposition the smoke detector.

Health Check of Unit:

The actual unit of the smoke detector could also be faulty, which triggers it to malfunction. This problem could exist more for older models. In this case, if the unit’s lifespan has been reached, you may want to consider replacing it with a newer unit.

Setup of Alarm Sensitivity:

A smoke detection alarm is supposed to cause an alert, for threatening situations. However, when this repeatedly causes false alarms, it may be necessary to check the sensitivity of the equipment and adjust when necessary. You would not want to get alarmed when you are just cooking your meal versus a chicken burning in the oven.

Bugs and Insects:

Sometimes, the smallest bugs can get inside smoke detectors and could trigger it to alarm. The best way to prevent this is to keep the areas neat and tidy. If you are not sure what has caused the alarm to trigger, the equipment may need to be dismounted and inspected in detail.

Build Up of Dust:

Similar to bugs or insects, bags of dust can accumulate around the smoke alarm causing some particles to creep inside and finally causing false triggers. The best way to manage it is to keep things the areas clean. And likewise, if it needs to be dismounted for inspection, owners should not hesitate to look into it.

Neglected Maintenance:

Smoke detectors are dormant where there is a tendency to be neglected. However, these security alarms are there for the most important conditions which are why it should be a priority to maintain it regularly. Maintenance of smoke detectors can involve battery replacement, device cleaning, and device inspection.

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3. How can you Adjust a Smoke Detector's Sensitivity?

Some ways can be done to fine-tune the smoke detector so that it works effectively.

The first option is to change the position and placement of the device so that it is not too close to heating appliances or smoky areas.

The second option is to consider removing the smoke alarm with care so that it can be cleaned properly. This can be wiped with a dry cloth. Make sure that you do this gently so that you will not damage your device.

The third option is suggested only when both options above have been exhausted. If the device still creates false alarms, then you might want to look into the technology itself. The smoke detector should come with a manual from the manufacturer where it can guide you on how it is used.

With Photoelectric smoke alarms, it has a faster response when it comes to the smoke produced by blazing fires. Whichever type of detector one owns, one must always remember to check it and keep it in good condition. Here you can try to install 10-year sealed battery smoke detector in your home safety. X-sense offer smoke detector is an intelligent home fire safety.

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