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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.

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[#1] Posted: 03/28/2011 - 6:50:16 PM
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I have clients that I inspected a home for last year. Every time they run the gas oven, the smoke detectors go off. This happened when I was there and I could not figure out the cause. Gas sniffer didn't read anything. I thought that since it was a new range maybe the fumes from the chemicals burning off might be causing it. I also recommended that they have the gas company come out for a second opinion. Well it's been over five months and the issue remains. Gas company confirmed no leaks. Any suggestions?

The over the range microwave does vent to the interior. Not that I think that has anything to do with it.

Rob Jones
South Sound Inspections
Seattle Home Inspection

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#2] Posted: 03/28/2011 - 8:15:30 PM
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Faulty smoke detectors - replace 'em.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#3] Posted: 03/28/2011 - 8:55:12 PM
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My wife thinks the smoke detector is the oven timer. When it goes off, dinner's ready!
Bill Kibbel, Historic & Commercial Building Inspections - Old House Resources
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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#4] Posted: 03/28/2011 - 9:10:52 PM
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Thanks for the replies. The nearest smoke detector is in the main hallway. The home is about 11 years old. I will tell my client to try replacing at least the hallway one and see what happens.

Thanks again.

Rob Jones
South Sound Inspections
Seattle Home Inspection

"If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours."
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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#5] Posted: 03/28/2011 - 9:55:21 PM
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For exactly reasons like Rob is describing, a very high percentage of ionization type alarms are disconnected, leaving the occupants unprotected. As if that weren't enough, these very same nuisance-producing gadgets fail to detect smoke within the time that is necessary to protect your life. Ionization alarms will detect a fast-flame fire 30 - 90 seconds faster than a photoelectric alarm. The photoelectric alarm will detect a smoldering fire 30 -90 minutes before an ionization alarm.

I would recommend to your clients that they replace all their smoke alarms with photoelectric types. We did that in our house.

Douglas Hansen

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#6] Posted: 03/29/2011 - 06:57:23 AM
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Smoke alarms have a lifespan of ten years. Alarms older than that should be replaced.
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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#7] Posted: 03/29/2011 - 10:23:06 AM
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I have passed the info along and recommended they replace the smoke alarms.
Rob Jones
South Sound Inspections
Seattle Home Inspection

"If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours."
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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#8] Posted: 03/29/2011 - 11:09:01 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Douglas Hansen

For exactly reasons like Rob is describing, a very high percentage of ionization type alarms are disconnected, leaving the occupants unprotected. As if that weren't enough, these very same nuisance-producing gadgets fail to detect smoke within the time that is necessary to protect your life. Ionization alarms will detect a fast-flame fire 30 - 90 seconds faster than a photoelectric alarm. The photoelectric alarm will detect a smoldering fire 30 -90 minutes before an ionization alarm.

I would recommend to your clients that they replace all their smoke alarms with photoelectric types. We did that in our house.

Douglas Hansen
That is a good point, Sir Douglas.
There are, as usual, varied opinions as to what type is best,and where they should be placed. If you read this article, you will come away with no real answer to the question of nuisance alarms, other than "try moving the alarm to another location".
http://www.firesafetycouncil.c...hens.pdf

Robert, since your clients are cooking with gas, they really should have a proper range hood fan that blows to the outside. The fan should be a quiet one, so that they will actually use it. Without the exhaust fan, they are leaking NG into the house every time they light a burner.

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#9] Posted: 03/29/2011 - 2:36:26 PM
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Thanks John. The article you found does indeed make it sound like there are two sides to the story. It is to be expected considering the hundreds of billions of dollars in lawsuits that the manufacturers are currently facing over wrongful deaths from non-functioning ionization alarms. If you read the article carefully you will see it was based on zero real-world testing. I too used to think a smoke alarm was a smoke alarm, and that it didn't make much difference. I don't believe that now. I will pass the link along to some of the folks who are working on this issue. There are a lot of folks who are more well-informed than me, and perhaps I can get one of them to respond.

When I see stuff like this (misinformation that can kill), it is hard not to take it personally. I also try not to take it personally when someone claims that smoking does not cause lung cancer (as a certain MIT scientist claims). The folks who do take it personally are groups like Fathers for Fire Safety, comprised of parents of children who died unnecessarily as a result of non-functioning ionization smoke alarms. http://www.theworldfiresafetyf...ome.html

When I first learned of this issue (quite recently), I checked the alarms in my own house, and discovered that they were ionization types, and that the batteries were missing from 3 of them. One was giving false alarms from my wife's shower, and the other 2 were giving false alarms from our kitchen. Since replacing them with photoelectrics we have had no false alarms.

I suggest looking at this link: http://www.theworldfiresafetyf...ome.html
Next you could research it on NFPA's web site, which I have done, and even they grant that there is a much higher incidence of false alarms and disabled alarms with ionization types, along with a much slower response time to real world deadly smoke-producing fires.

We tend to place a great deal of faith in things that have a UL label or a CSA label. As someone who has spent a great deal of time involved in the worlds of codes and standards, I can assure you that such faith is badly misplaced. UL's test for smoke alarms consists essentially of throwing the thing in a box along with a smoke bomb. Surprise - ionization alarms pass that test, even though they don't pass the test that counts, when something in your house is producing deadly quantities of smoke. Here is a direct link to the issue of UL's standards:
http://theworldfiresafetyfound...n.org/ul
I suggest spending 7 minutes watching the video in that link.

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#10] Posted: 03/29/2011 - 3:47:00 PM
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Once again, I find I don't know squat about something critically important..........

To do list:

1) Rip out my ionization smoke alarms and replace them with photoelectrics

2) Rewrite my smoke alarm commentary.


Kurt in Chicago

"If I smell it, it goes in the report".............Phillip Smith...2012


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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#11] Posted: 03/29/2011 - 3:56:04 PM
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You and I both Kurt. Here I was worried about the batteries being replaced
Rob Jones
South Sound Inspections
Seattle Home Inspection

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#12] Posted: 03/29/2011 - 9:12:24 PM
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A few weeks ago, I began a test in my own house with photoelectric & ionization alarms mounted side by side on a small piece of plywood that I can move about the house to test different scenarios.

I haven't had the time to go through all of the tests that I want to do, so I'll hold off on describing the results yet but I'll let you all know as soon as I do.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#13] Posted: 03/30/2011 - 7:37:00 PM
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Quote: I would recommend to your clients that they replace all their smoke alarms with photoelectric types. We did that in our house


I looked into this a while back, and got the idea there should be both types of smoke detectors in every home. Why choose one over the other?

Brandon

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#14] Posted: 03/30/2011 - 8:47:21 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

Quote: I would recommend to your clients that they replace all their smoke alarms with photoelectric types. We did that in our house


I looked into this a while back, and got the idea there should be both types of smoke detectors in every home. Why choose one over the other?

The merits of each technology are different. Ionization alarms are supposed to respond more quickly to fast-moving flame, and photoelectric alarms respond more quickly to smoke from smoldering fires. On those points there seems to be universal agreement. Beyond that, the debate becomes passionate.

As I understand it, the advantage of ionization alarms is that they respond 30 - 90 seconds faster to a fast-moving flame than a photoelectric. That also means they respond to things that won't set off a photoelectric, such as the smokeless beginnings of my toast getting overdone, or the invisible amount of steam in the hallway from taking a shower with the door open. The title of this thread is based on just such an unwanted alarm activation (probably a better term than "false" alarm, since something did happen to set the thing off). It is also the reason folks are so much more likely to disconnect that type as compared to a photoelectric. On this latter point there is also widespread agreement, including NFPA's white paper on the subject.

The advantage of photoelectric alarms is that they respond more quickly to smoke from a smoldering fire. The claim is that they respond 30 to 90 minutes faster. If your furniture is smoldering while you sleep, you won't live 30 to 90 minutes. Some of the stories on the web links posted earlier, such as that from Fathers for Fire Safety, include instances where over a dozen ionization alarms failed to go off until after the victims were dead.

NFPA 72 systems (cental station alarms, often linked to fire sprinkler and/or security systems) universally use photoelectric detectors. Commercial smoke detectors are all photoelectric.

You can't predict what kind of fire you are going to have in your house. I see it as a choice between one that gives me a 90-second advantage for one type of fire, versus one that gives you a 90-minute advantage over the fire more likely to kill you.

So is it an either/or choice? A lot of folks have come to the same conclusion that you did Brandon. Right now, our (California) fire marshal has convened a task force to look into the issue, and I am willing to bet the ranch that they will end up recommending that houses have both types, because that is the only realistic political solution. That doesn't mean it is the "right" solution. A great argument can be made against combination ionization/photoelectric types, since the way that some of them resolve the unwanted tripping issue is to require that both internal detectors be activated, not just one. In other words, they require the worst features of both!

Please do look at the 7-minute video posted in my previous message. It questions UL's test method. While I think it is partly an unfair hatchet job on UL, I can't help but think the UL spokesman's position is tantamount to "the operation was a success - so what if the patient died." In fairness to UL, they are not the sole contributors to the standard test procedure. There is plenty of blame to spread around. Did I mention this issue becomes passionate?

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#15] Posted: 04/03/2014 - 5:44:40 PM
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How long should a smoke detector alarm sound for to be effective? I know 3 seconds is probably too short of a time.. just curious..
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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#16] Posted: 04/03/2014 - 9:18:55 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by FAISONIK

How long should a smoke detector alarm sound for to be effective? I know 3 seconds is probably too short of a time.. just curious..

I believe it should sound as long at its exposed to the threshold level of particulates.


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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#17] Posted: 04/04/2014 - 06:09:53 AM
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ASHI took the stance in 2012 to support the photoelectric side. This is an article from the Reporter. http://www.ashireporter.org/Ho...arm/2606

Scott Patterson
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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#18] Posted: 04/04/2014 - 08:42:17 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Jim Katen

Quote: Originally posted by FAISONIK

How long should a smoke detector alarm sound for to be effective? I know 3 seconds is probably too short of a time.. just curious..

I believe it should sound as long at its exposed to the threshold level of particulates.




Ok break that down for me in kindergarten terms?

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#19] Posted: 04/04/2014 - 09:28:30 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by FAISONIK

Quote: Originally posted by Jim Katen

Quote: Originally posted by FAISONIK

How long should a smoke detector alarm sound for to be effective? I know 3 seconds is probably too short of a time.. just curious..

I believe it should sound as long at its exposed to the threshold level of particulates.


Ok break that down for me in kindergarten terms?
The sound should continue as long as there's smoke in the air.

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#20] Posted: 04/04/2014 - 11:17:40 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Bill Kibbel

Quote: Originally posted by FAISONIK

Quote: Originally posted by Jim Katen

Quote: Originally posted by FAISONIK

How long should a smoke detector alarm sound for to be effective? I know 3 seconds is probably too short of a time.. just curious..

I believe it should sound as long at its exposed to the threshold level of particulates.


Ok break that down for me in kindergarten terms?
The sound should continue as long as there's smoke in the air.


THANKS

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#21] Posted: 04/04/2014 - 5:06:36 PM
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Or until it melts!

-


Erby Crofutt
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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#22] Posted: 04/04/2014 - 6:24:17 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by Erby

Or until it melts!



Now thats funny!

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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#23] Posted: 04/04/2014 - 7:21:52 PM
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Quote: Originally posted by FAISONIK

Quote: Originally posted by Erby

Or until it melts!



Now thats funny!


It really isn't funny ... just a point of fact. When it melts the structure is engulfed in flame.


Cheers,

Nolan E. Kienitz
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Smoke detectors going off when oven is run.
[#24] Posted: 04/04/2014 - 9:28:32 PM
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Well since you put it that way your absolutely right... not funny at all.... I was just thinking about the alarm unit itself not the whole building burning down...




   
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