La Belle Vie
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My Twitchy Smoke Alarm

For the Nth time since moving in three years ago, the smoke detected above our main door went off this morning: LOUDLY. Yes, I was making toast at the time. It always goes off what, oh, okay, 98% of the time the detector detects what no other detector detects—toast smoke—and sounded the alarm. And did I mention: LOUDLY?

I’m convinced said alarm smells when I’m making toast and decides to scare the bejesus out of me. I’m also convinced that when it come time for it to work as it’s meant to work—in a house fire—it’s going to remain silent, as silent as the dead.

You would think I would have the sense to call and have it replaced, but for the fact that, if it is this sensitive and, did I mention, LOUD? That it just might save our lives one day. Yes, I know I just said I thought it might not work in case of emergency. But another part of me hopes that the damn thing, while irritating, actually will do its job when needed. And that being sensitive might not be such a bad thing when lives are at stake.

That said, I’m thinking of investing in a pair of industrial ear defenders like you see guys drilling out on the street, wear. Because, you know, making toast is dangerous to life and limb. Never mind the fact more people die from electrocution by toaster than are struck by lightning, or killed by sharks!

I wonder what the stats are on going deaf by smoke alarm are?


  1. You’ve definitely highlighted the down side of a sensitive smoke alarm, Alex. Ours has been known to go off like that, too. As you say, it’s good to have a device that’s sensitive enough to warn you in case there’s ever real trouble. But unfortunately, smoke alarms don’t know the difference between, ‘There’s a dangerous fire!” and, ‘I decided to light some scented candles.’

    • Alex says

      Oh, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. It’s not just toast that sets it off, but it’s usually toast. Making me think there is something to do with how the toast is toasted that gives off extra burnt carbon molecules that the alarm detects. And PING! One day they might find a way for an alarm to incorporate a certain level of AI to differentiate between the two, Margot.

      So, until then, better to err on the side of staying alive, than being charcoal remains.

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