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Can Humidifier Trigger Smoke Alarm?

Smoke detectors are an essential addition to any house. They warn you if there is a fire in your home that can potentially save your life.

On a daily basis, smoke detectors save countless lives. You can find smoke alarms everywhere, offices, theaters, shopping malls, you name it.

This is also why it is essential to know if something like a humidifier, which is a regular household item, can cause the smoke alarm to go off.

Can Humidity Affect Smoke Alarms?

A lot of people have found a connection between humidity and their smoke alarms going off. Well, the short answer would be yes, humidity does affect smoke alarms.

Now, you might wonder why a smoke alarm would get triggered from something like humidity or steam. This is mainly because smoke alarms are generally unable to differentiate between smoke and moisture particles, since they both set off sensors of the smoke alarm in a similar way.

Smoke detectors basically come in two types. Some of them use Ionization technology while there are others that use Photoelectric technology.

Related reading: Do Humidifiers Cause Mold?

Ionized Smoke Alarms

These smoke alarms come with radioactive material inside that is constantly ionizing the air within a pair of detector plates. The electric current that passes through the ionized air gets disrupted when smoke particles are attached to the air molecules that are ionized. Thus the alarm goes off.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

A photoelectric smoke alarm is a lot more straightforward. You have a pair of sensors between which there is a light beam passing through. It works similar to the safety sensors that you have in your garage door opener. When the light beam is interrupted by smoke, it triggers the alarm and thus the alarm goes off.

The Ionization smoke alarms are not as popular anymore as they used to be. It is partly due to the fact that there are a lot of problems that arise when it comes to disposing of radioactive waste. There is also the fact that smoke alarms implementing the Ionization technology tend to trigger more false alarms when it comes to humidity.

There are still benefits to having this technology though. Ionization technology does a better job at detecting flash fires and Photoelectric technology can better see fires that begin with a long smoldering. So it is recommended by many fire marshals that you actually use a smoke alarm that combines the technology from both of these detectors.

Can a Humidifier Trigger a Smoke Alarm?

As we already discussed earlier, it is hard for many smoke alarms to differentiate between water particles and smoke. Yes, a humidifier is able to trigger a smoke alarm.

We already saw that humidity can often be the reason for false alarms with your smoke detectors. This is why since humidifiers are basically increasing the humidity levels in the air in your house, they do cause smoke alarms to get triggered.

However, humidifiers are a household item that a lot of people like to use. In some arid conditions, a humidifier can help to counter your mucous membrane from running dry. You might not know but even ventilators in medicals have humidifiers that help to comfort a sick patient.

You can have itchy eyes, dry skin, irritation in your nasal passage and in your throat from low levels of humidity. This is why having a humidifier in your house is something constructive and you cannot just throw it away because of your smoke alarms. But what to do when your smoke alarm is being triggered by your humidifier?

How to Stop Smoke Alarm Going Off Due to Humidity?

Even though smoke alarms are some of the most valuable gadgets to keep you and your family safe, their false alarms are of course quite an annoying and irritating experience. This is why you would be better off taking some precautions so that you can avoid this problem.

Here are some precautions you can take to keep your smoke alarm from having false triggers.

Place your smoke alarms in the right places. It is better to keep your smoke alarms away from the area where you will be keeping your humidifier, such as the bedroom or the nursery.

Try to keep the humidity within an average level. You don’t really have to continuously use your humidifier or even the exhaust fans or any other ways that can lead to increased ventilation.

Try to adjust the sensitivity levels for your smoke alarms if they come with such a feature. It will avoid most of the false triggers.

Try to clean your smoke alarms regularly. This helps to clean up the outer casing of any condensed water that may be on it. It is also recommended that you have your smoke alarms serviced regularly as well.

To get better protection from these false triggers you could try to use both Photoelectric and Ionization types of smoke alarms in parallel.

Following the methods mentioned above will definitely help you to reduce the chances of smoke alarms getting false triggers from your humidifier.

Related reading: Can Humidifier Be Used with a Fan?

Final Words

A humidifier is a valuable household item to have when the weather is parched. Smoke alarms are a lifesaving gadget.

We hope you understood what exactly happens to your smoke alarms when there’s a lot of humidity and the precautions that you need to take.

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