False Alarms And What To Do About Them

Fire alarms are essential safety tools for commercial and residential places. One of the pertinent problems of fire alarms is false alarms. Let’s learn more about false alarms and what causes them.

Oops! False alarm!

False alarms are a reality of using fire alert systems. Sometimes false alarms are inevitable, and sometimes they can be prevented with proper fire alarm system maintenance. But before we get into false alarms, let’s first understand how fire alarm systems work.

There are three main components of a fire alarm system. These are:

  • Initiating device
  • Indicating device
  • Fire alarm control panel

Initiating devices are smoke detectors of various types that trigger the fire alarm. Once the sensors notice a fire, the indicating devices come into play. These devices include everything from horns to bells to sirens. The fire alarm control panel shows the location and severity of the fire. It also notifies the emergency hotlines in some fire alarm systems.

A complete fire alarm system is generally used in commercial complexes. Smoke detectors act as initiating and indicating devices in homes and private spaces. Smoke detectors monitor the air for high amounts of particles that indicate a smoke/fire. Anyone who has used smoke alarms knows how annoying false alarms can be. A false alarm can go off at any time of the day for no apparent reason.

However, you must be aware of some common causes of false alarms. For example, steam or high humidity in the air can lead to a false alarm. This is particularly common when the smoke detectors are too near the bathroom or kitchen. Certain chemicals used for home renovations can also trigger false alarms. Low battery power also causes false alarms, especially in older smoke detectors. Other factors that can trigger a false alarm include dirt, dust, and insects.

Time to upgrade

How do you know when your fire alarm system needs an upgrade? The answer is easy. You have to evaluate the following factors to decide whether it’s time for an upgrade.

  1. Too many false alarms: Some false alarms are common in smoke detectors, but if it’s going out of hand, you should consider upgrading your fire alarm system. Too many false alarms clearly indicate that your alarm needs an upgrade.
  2. Your smoke detectors are old: If you’ve had the same smoke detectors for over ten years, it’s time to upgrade them. Smoke detectors deteriorate over time like any electrical appliance. Moreover, existing fire alarm systems in commercial spaces often need to follow the latest fire safety code. In that case, you are legally bound to install new fire alarm systems.
  3. Renovations: If you plan to renovate a private or commercial space, you should upgrade your fire alarm system accordingly.
  4. Fire alarm installation issues: The fire alarm installation is often the reason for false alarms. Additionally, several common electrical problems, like tripped circuit breakers, loss of connection, damaged wires, or power surges, can trigger false alarms.

How to maintain fire alarm systems

Apart from changing the batteries and keeping the smoke detectors clean, it would be best if you did not attempt to troubleshoot your fire alarm yourself. Call a fire alarm service provider for professional maintenance and repair of smoke detectors. Your electrician will also help you choose the perfect location for the smoke detectors. Here are three quick ways to test a fire detector:

  • Use an aerosol spray near the smoke detector. Your smoke detector isn’t working if it doesn’t trigger an alarm.
  • Light a few matchsticks near the smoke detector to test if it’s working.
  • Many smoke detectors also come with a fire alarm button. You simply press this button to see if the alarm system is working.


Don’t ignore the safety of your living spaces or commercial property. Use a high-quality fire alarm system to stay protected from danger. Contact Von Power today to upgrade your fire alarm system.