People with kitchen smoke alarms are all too familiar with the problems they bring. You can see your dinner isn’t turning out as planned and then the loud beeping emanating from your fire alarm throws in a bit of additional criticism. Just what you needed, 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 which isn’t just dangerous, in some places, it’s illegal. The good news is there are better options!


Why You Shouldn’t Disable Your Alarm

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. Some people have devised all sorts of systems to disable their smoke alarms temporarily, but even if it wasn’t a violation of most state laws, it’s not a good idea.

You might think, “I just need to keep this alarm going off while I finish cooking dinner,” but after eating dinner and doing dishes that disabled alarm is the last thing on your mind. Nearly 60% 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. Keep in mind; it’s not that these residents had more fires than their fire-safe neighbors, it’s that they were alerted to the danger and could get out, get help, and stay safe.

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?

Some people find out the hard way that the type of fire alarm they have installed in their kitchen is the wrong one. There are two types of fire alarms, ionization and photoelectric and most people have ionization alarms in their home. Ionization alarms work best for fires with large fast-forming flames. Inside, they have two metal plates that are electrically charged if smoke breaks the connection between the plates it will cause the alarm to go off. What’s worse? These plates can become more sensitive over time if they get corrosion build up on them. These failing points are why most people recommend photoelectric alarms be placed in areas like the kitchen.


The photoelectric alarms work differently. Instead of metal plates, a beam of light is aimed away from a sensor. Smoke has the ability to 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 you accidentally place a wooden cutting board on a hot burner.

Update Your Alarms

Did you know that the National Fire Protection Association recommends you replace your smoke detectors every ten years? I’m sure looking around your home you’ll realize that your smoke alarms have been around much longer than that. So why does updating your fire alarm help reduce false alarms in the kitchen?

The technology in smoke detectors has improved significantly in the past few years, and smart alarms are leading the way. The US Fire Administration released a report not too long ago detailing the benefits of smart alarms and one of the key benefits is that they’re capable of reducing “false alarms” from things like kitchen cooking, because despite how burnt your meal is, it’s probably nonhazardous.

“Smart Smoke Alarm” technology will improve the performance of home smoke alarms without significantly increasing the cost to consumers.

Even if the alarm detects the smoke in your kitchen and goes off, with smart alarms, you can quickly and safely temporarily silence the alarm. You won’t have to remember to “turn it back on” so the risks associated with temporarily disabling it are eliminated. Interested in a smart alarm and increased home safety? Get a free quote from Protect America.