Can The Weather Affect Your Smoke Alarm?


Smoke alarms sounding when they are supposed to are a literal lifesaver, but it is frustrating when they give off false alarms.

There are some apparent suspects for false alarms: dust, insects, and anything that can get in the way of the alarm’s sensor and act like smoke. However, moisture and humidity can also be common causes for false alarms and are often overlooked due to how hard it can be to tell the reason.

Although humidity can affect smoke detectors all year round, it is prevalent during the wet season and warmer months in coastal Australia, usually from November through March, with the chance for false alarms increasing significantly when wet weather occurs.

How Can The Weather Affect My Smoke Alarm?

When humidity gets to a high level within a home and cools before being ventilated, the moisture will begin to reach dew point. At dew point, moisture in the air will stick to any colder surface, an example being water droplets forming on the surface of a cold drink.

Unfortunately, the moisture can stick to the inside of your  smoke alarm system, which can sometimes affect the sensor and trigger a false alarm until the moisture has been removed.

What Do I Do For Weather-Related False Alarms?

When your alarm is sounding (and there is no fire), here is what you should do.

1. Pressing the hush/silence button

Wireless smoke alarms will often have a button to silence the alarm. However, this button may be hard to reach if there are too many obstructions between you and the alarm.

2. Use a hair dryer through the alarm to dry it

If the alarm is sounding due to moisture, warm air from a hair dryer can help remove the water particles from the sensor. Be wary of placing the hair dryer too close to the alarm, as excessive heat can damage the smoke alarm.

3. Get in touch with the manufacturer or supplier

If the false alarms persist, get in touch with the alarm manufacturer or supplier for further instructions on rectifying the issue.

How Can I Prevent False Alarms Caused By The Weather?

There are several ways to prevent humidity from affecting your smoke alarm or smoke detector. Here are some handy tips to lower humidity in your home to reduce the chance of false alarms (and mould growth, too!).

1. Circulate The Air In Your Home 

A dew point occurs when the humid air in your house becomes trapped and doesn’t have anywhere to go. Using ceiling fans to circulate the air in your rooms with the windows open can help mix the humid air closer to the ceiling with the dryer air on the floor.

2. Keep Windows Closed During High Humidity

When it is starting to get above 85% humidity outside, leaving your windows open can allow the humid air from outside to get into your house. Without the correct ventilation, the air will become trapped.

3. Ventilate When Cooking Or Showering

When cooking or showering, ensure you have ventilation to remove the humid air. Although you shouldn’t have smoke alarms in these rooms without ventilating them correctly, the humid air will eventually find its way into other parts of your home.

4. Reduce The Number Of Houseplants In Your Home

Indoor plants can increase your home’s humidity level, so ensure you have proper ventilation in your home if you have several indoor plants in your room.

5. Use An Air Conditioner

If you have an AC unit, using it during highly humid days will dry the air in your house. Just be sure to keep the filters clean, and don’t leave the windows open.

6. Dry Your Laundry Outside

Dry your clothes outside if you can, as the moisture from your clothes will add to your home’s overall humidity levels.

7. Invest In A Dehumidifier

If the humidity in your house is severe, consider investing in a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are a cheaper alternative to managing your home’s humidity levels and prevent you from running your AC unit when not needed.

8. Clean Your Smoke Alarm Regularly

If your smoke alarm has excess dust build-up, the moisture has more to attach to, which can create false alarms more frequently. As such, it is important to dust off and vacuum your wireless smoke alarms at least once a month to keep them free of dust and debris.

Get Quality Smoke Alarms From PSA Products

As one of Australia’s leading smoke alarm suppliers, PSA Products offers a wide range of smoke alarm systems, from battery-powered and mains-powered to wired and wireless smoke alarms, wireless smoke detectors, and wireless smoke alarm systems.

All of our smoke alarm models use photoelectric sensing technology, have ten years of warranty, and comply with the latest Australian Standard AS/NZS3786:2014. Get in touch to learn more about our home fire safety products today.