Smoke alarm goes off when it's cold (?)

Hi all, I like to heat only the rooms we spend time in during the winter with space heaters. Now that it's getting colder I have the problem of the household smoke detecters going off at night. It only happens in the colder months. Anyone know why this is?
Thanks, Rog
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Suspect marginally dead batteries. Try putting in a new alkaline battery (presumably 9V) and see what happens.
Roger wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Put a 9V lithium battery in;they are much less affected by cold temps,and their life is WAY longer.For something important like a smoke detector,the extra cost would be trivial.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I 2nd that advice. Batteries get weaker as they get colder. Your batteries might be on the margin, and when they get colder, they get right on the line where the detector sends a low battery warning once in a while.
-john-
--
======================================================================
John A. Weeks III 952-432-2708 snipped-for-privacy@johnweeks.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Roger wrote:

As indicated batteries are a good suspect. You also may want to check the specs to see what the operating temperature range is.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

"during the winter with space heaters. "
If it aint the batteries like others have said, time to look at the vapors the space heaters are emitting.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Your smoke detectors are very badly confused and require psychiatric help. :)
Actually, the batteries are probably weak, and cold batteries deliver less power. Replace the batts.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Roger wrote:

If Batteries don't solve the problem consider this:
I've found that insects which come indoors when it starts to get cold (like Box eEder beetles and Ladybugs) can crawl into some smoke detectors and set them off.
A few shots of RAID around the outside of the smoke detectors usually gets rid of them for quite a while.
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia

(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The new battery advice is good.
You don't say if the alarms go off in the rooms where and when the space heaters are on, or where they are off, or where there aren't any.
Or what kinds of space heater you use.
I have wire coil space heaters that are at least as old as 1947. They work fine. But I can imagine that if dust from the summer, or any other dust, landed on the coil, as some of it must, it could be heated to the burning point, maybe, when the heater was on.
If this we were a common problem, I think it would say so in the smoke alarm instructions, but maybve your heaters are especially dusty or dirty, maybe because they haven't been used for a long time.

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

could have more to do with closing of your windows and a dirty oven. try switching to photo electric.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
How about it gets to cold and the detectors go thru metal contraction and cause direct short to contacts? Thereby setting off the detectors?
Dan

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Usually a low battery makes it blip once in a while not false alarm, it could be a battery but it shouldn't be.
I get false alarms on cool mornings when the shower is used (30 ft away in MBR with bathroom door closed). Seems the detector cools to room temp overnight which is typically cool and the steam makes its way (not much either as it is not noticeable) to the photoelectric detector and condenses where it sets off the alarm. I either need to pull out the battery or hold it over an electric space heater to warm it up to make it stop (pressing the button only works for a minute).
My detector is only a few months old and has 3 way detector (ionization, photoelectric and CO) which is supposed to cut down on false alarms but it does not.
Is there a source of water vapor near the detector like a coffee maker, unvented gas space heater (!) or do you have steam radiators and the thermostat turns them on just before the false alarm.
If you think it might be this, use a detector with an ionization detector instead of photoelectric.
Also, smoke detectors have a 5-10 year life. Yours might just be too old.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dust - try and vacum them out.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Moisture condensing.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This what I was TOLD to prevent such a problem you are having.
If you have ionizing types: 1. Check batteries. Voltage drops with temperature. 2. Check age on smoke detectors(as they get older they ionize less and less, so the sensing chamber drops faster with any type of dust/smoke/humidity). NFPA recommends replace every 10 years, but I was told replace at end of warranty period(some 5 years) under harsh conditions, since the company only guarantees it's function in the warranty period. 3. Check for improper installation, if they are in colder rooms the air gets denser than the smoke detectors were 'designed' for. Meaning air at normal room temperature(68-75F) is less dense than air at 40F. Dense air can appear like less-dense air with smoke in it. So this creates for a false alarms.
Solutions I was given.....change over to photo-electric if I want to use a POC (Products of Combustion) detector, or change over to a heat based detector(fixed/rate of rise, depending on your installation needs).
VERY IMPORTANT: Do not disable your current detectors, till you are ready to install replacements. Better to have an over sensitive detector than none.
I highly recommend you contact your fire company, they usually do a free fire safety audit, and might have someone on staff(or could recommend one) that is qualified to help you plan out your home's fire alarms.
hth,
tom @ www.FindMeShelter.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.