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Will Incense Set off A Smoke Detector or Fire Sprinkler?

Smoke detector

Every home needs to be secure from every possible hazard, including a fire. For that reason, it is advisable to have a smoke detector that will alert you promptly in case of a possible fire. Nevertheless, it is understandably worrying that there is a possibility of the smoke detector being set off by something like incense or a cigarette. So, does incense set off fire alarms?

We have carried out extensive research to determine the possibility of this happening and have come up with this detailed post that discusses the possibility of your detector or fire sprinkler being set off even without a real fire in your house.

Here is the short version: Incense can set off a smoke detector or fire sprinkler even though it is not a common occurrence. Incense will indeed produce some smoke, but that smoke is not always enough to trigger a fire sprinkler or smoke detector.

So, will incense trigger a smoke alarm? To grasp the possibility of a smoke detector or fire sprinkler being set off, we need to discuss how they function. We will also look at several ways of avoiding your detector being set off by incense, vaping, cooking, or smoking.

How Smoke Detectors Work

You should know that there are two types of smoke detectors. There are photoelectric alarms, as well as ionization alarms. They both have different ways of functioning. Let’s start with ionization alarms.

Ionization alarms will function by creating a stream of ions moving between two plates inside the alarms. These ions are usually created by a radioactive source that is weak but is adequate to create an electric current between these two plates. So, in case there is a fire, there will be smoke, which will get in the alarm’s chamber. That smoke will interfere with the flow of ions between the two plates and the circuit will be broken, resulting in the alarming going off.

A photoelectric type of smoke detector will project a beam of light to a sensor. Just like in the other type, this small beam will complete a circuit. If the smoke goes through that chamber, it will block that light, breaking the electric circuit in the process and the alarm will go off.

What About Fire Sprinklers?

Fire sprinklers do not function the same way as a smoke detector. The fire sprinkler will not use smoke to trigger its functionality. Instead, it uses heat. In case of a fire, air about the heat will heat up quickly. That hot air will rise, spreading on the ceiling. If the air has adequate temperature levels and it gets to a sprinkler head, it will cause a reaction.

In most cases, a sprinkler heat will have a bulb that has a glycerin-based liquid. If that liquid gets in contact with air that is between 135 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it will expand that the bulb will shatter. That will then activate the sprinkler.

Can a Burning Incense Stick Trigger a Smoke Detector or Fire Alarm?

Incense is becoming quite popular in most houses because of the vast range of functions. Most people will use it to freshen the air in the house, while some will use it for other reasons such as meditation and yoga. An incense works by being burnt. The smoke produced is the main source of the fragrance that will cleanse the air around you.

We have identified that burning incense will give you a source of heat and a source of smoke as well. Is the amount of smoke or heat significant?

In most cases, this level of heat or smoke does not matter. First, the heat produced by the incense stick is quite small. The incense does not have an actual flame. When lit, you have to blow off the flame, if any, so that your incense stick only glows. If you have a fire sprinkler in your house, it will not notice that heat and it will not set off.

As for the smoke, it is also minimal, even if you burn two or three sticks at the same time. It will not become dense or thick enough to be detected by a smoke alarm.

Nevertheless, if you light an incense stick and place it directly under your smoke detector, there is a chance that it might sense the smoke and go off. The easiest way to prevent this is to place the incense stick in strategic places so that it does not smoke under the fire alarm.

Regardless, there are cases when an incense smoke alarm might be activated.

For instance, if you burn many incense sticks at the same time, there is a big chance that the smoke produced will be quite dense, and it might set off the smoke detector or fire alarm. So, does incense set off fire alarms? Well, if there is an adequate number of incense sticks burning at a go, they might.

Also, if you are using an older model of a smoke detector, it might set off the alarm. The older models were very sensitive and would produce false alarms all the time. That will set off even when there is no real fire.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will incense set off a smoke detector in the dorm/apartment?

The only way incense will set off a smoke detector is if it is burnt directly under the detector, or if there is a large number of sticks being burnt at the same time.

  1. Will burning sage set off smoke detectors?

If the smoke is quite much, sage can set off a smoke detector. For smudging purposes, you can use a very small amount. With keeping a distance from your smoke detector.

Read: Is Burning Sage Toxic to Dogs?

  1. Will Palo Santo set off the fire alarm?

Palo Santo will not set off a fire alarm. However, if you want to be on the safe side, you can simply open a window.

Also, read: Real vs. Fake Palo Santo Comparison

Conclusion

Will incense trigger a smoke alarm? Well, we have determined situations in which it might. However, if you burn a single stick or two, placed in proper places, the chances of triggering a smoke alarm are low.

Suggested read: Incense – Is it Safe for Dogs?

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