How to Stop Bathroom Showers From Setting Off Detectors

The smoke alarm went off again after taking a shower. What to do ? Simple. Place your smoke alarms carefully throughout your home, and not near bathroom doors. Photoelectric smoke alarms are best near bathrooms and kitchens where there’s a lot of steam because humidity doesn’t affect them as much vs the Ionization type detectors. Ionization detectors are the ones that are most commonly found in homes, and they are slightly cheaper than the photoelectric smoke alarms.

How to tell the difference? Take off the detector and it should say on the back of the detector whether its a ionization type or photoelectric type. If buying new, the packaging will tell you.

Note that the National Fire Protection Association recommends placing detectors 10 feet (3 meters) from your stove to help prevent false alarms while cooking. We recommend never putting a smoke detector near the kitchen. Smoke detectors are meant mostly to wake sleeping people to save their lives.

If you do have a smoke detector near the kitchen though, let the smoke and humidity out through the fan’s duct, it’ll be less likely to set off your smoke alarm. Be sure to also use your exhaust fan or crack a window in the bathroom to prevent humidity or aerosols from wafting out the door and setting off the smoke alarm.

Many fire departments highly recommend having both types of detectors throughout your home for maximum safety.

  • Ionization smoke detection is generally more responsive to flaming fires. Ionization-type smoke alarms have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionizes the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions, thus reducing the flow of current and activating the alarm.
  • Photoelectric smoke detection is generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering (called “smoldering fires”). Photoelectric-type alarms aim at a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. Smoke enters the chamber, reflecting light onto the light sensor; triggering the alarm.

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