Cooking in Peace: How to Temporarily Disable Your Smoke Alarm-image

Cooking in Peace: How to Temporarily Disable Your Smoke Alarm

By Andy Brown

When was the last time you almost jumped out of your skin because your fire alarm went off while you were cooking or in the shower? If you have a DIY alarm system, its no big deal. But one difference in using DIY vs professional alarm systems is that if you are using a professional system, a false alarm may mean a call from the Customer Monitoring Center. If you do not answer, the fire department will show up, which can be embarrassing. So how do you prevent this?

1. Remove the Battery

Removing the battery and putting it back when you are finished cooking is one answer to the problem. This can be inconvenient because you might have to do it every time you cook. It is suggested that you leave the smoke detector hanging open so that you do not forget to replace the batteries when you are finished.

2. Cover the Detector

Covering the smoke detector with a dishcloth can work. You could also use a shower cap or a rubber band and plastic wrap to temporarily disable the smoke detector. Once again, it is important to remember to uncover it when you are finished cooking.

3. Use a Fan or Hood

Using a fan or oven hood to remove the smoke or particulate from the area is a good solution to the problem. Opening a window may also be enough to vent enough smoke from the area and prevent the smoke detector from going off. Creating air movement reduces the density of the particles, keeping them below the detection limit of the unit.

4. Relocate the Detector

A more permanent solution to the problem may be to move the smoke detector to an area adjacent to the kitchen but not in the kitchen. It will still be effective if a fire should break out but will not be as likely to trigger false alarms. A wall just outside the kitchen door is a good location.

5. Buy a New Alarm

Many smoke/fire detectors are now made with the capability to be temporarily turned off for a short period. They allow the user to adjust the sensitivity for 15 or 20 minutes. After this time, the smoke detector automatically returns to its normal sensitivity.


Everyone understands the need to cook in peace without annoying false alarms from the smoke detector. Disabling the alarm is never a good idea, and you should always remember to re-enable it as soon as you are finished cooking in case of a real fire.

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