My Experience On Why It’s Important To Clean Your Fire Alarm!

My Experience On Why It’s Important To Clean Your Fire Alarm!


I bet many of you are thinking…”Clean my Fire Alarm? Why?”. I know that a few days ago I would have thought the same thing. But, that was before I was rudely awakened by a very loud BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. You see, a few nights ago my family and I had just cuddled into bed. I was just on the verge of that deep sleep when the fire alarm started going off. My husband and I quickly jumped out of bed and started to run down the hallway. I headed to my daughters room and was frantically screaming for my daughter to wake up. She slept right though the alarm which made the situation even more terrifying to me.


As I was yelling at my daughter my husband ran through the house in search of the fire. Just as he was coming back down the hallway from his investigation the alarms suddenly stopped. My husband and I looked around, smelled the air…where was the fire? As it turns out there was no fire. Nothing at all. That though however did not comfort my pounding heart as I started to wonder why they would have went off in the first place.


There were a million different questions running through my mind. But, let me back up a little….we have fire alarms in our home that are connected to each other. So when one alarm goes off the whole house goes off. Now…to go along with the alarms that are hard wired into our home we also have a security system that has a fire alarm…this alarm however did not go off. This was weird to me. I also know that the Carbon Monoxide detectors were not going off…so therefor it was not Carbon Monoxide. Weird right? That’s what I was thinking…


Anyway, after this incident I was having trouble calming my nervous. It really was mind boggling as to why they would have went off and very frighting. For those few minutes before I knew there was no fire I honestly thought that my whole life was going to change and not for the better. I knew that sleep would not come again so easily that night so I decided to do a little investigating into why this could have happened. Do you want to know what I learned? That it is important to vacuum your fire alarms so that things like this don’t happen! What? Vacuum your fire alarm? This was unheard of to me. I have a Father who retired as a Firefighter. Two of my brothers are currently active on fire departments. I am one of those people who really do change the batteries each and every time we change the clocks to leap forward or fall back. Every six months right on the dot….but I never, EVER heard of vacuuming your fire alarm.


That night I learned that fire alarms accumulate a lot of dust. This dust can coincidentally set off your alarm if it builds up around the opaque sensor. If anything passes over that sensor, on your alarm, like a cobweb or dust then poof….it goes off!


Of course there are also other reasons that your alarm can sound in the middle of the night without their being a fire. Other reasons include insects inside of the alarm or it can even be a sign that your alarm is getting old. Fire alarms expire after 10 years (even if it works when you push the test button it might not work in a real fire) so if you have had yours in your home longer then that you might want to think about investing in a new one..but if it is not that old..then please, please, please vacuum them out once in awhile, on low with your brush attachment on your vacuum. It really could save you from that rush of adrenalin as you think your home is burning down!



  1. My husband is a retired firefighter, so we know all about cleaning and changing the batteries on our smoke detectors. Great reminder.

  2. I’ll be cleaning my fire alarms TODAY! Thanks for the heads up, because I never even thought about cleaning them, just changing the batteries.

  3. How scary! But glad it wasn’t a real fire! I’ll be vacuuming mine today!

  4. Wow I never knew this! This is invaluable advice- thank you!

  5. That must have been scary! I didn’t even know you were supposed to clean them, no idea at all Thanks for the heads up, off to do this right now!

  6. Wow, that sounds like a terrible but valuable experience. Thanks for sharing.

  7. What a terrifying experience! I’m going to go through and clean our fire alarms today, and make sure they have new batteries. Mom’s have enough to worry and be scared about without having to worry about something like this!! Thanks for the info!

  8. Wow – I had never even thought of cleaning my fire alarms! Guess what I’m off to do right now?

  9. This is such great information! I had no idea that we needed to clean the smoke alarms at all!

  10. eek. going to clean mine now. that’s scary stuff. our CO detector DIED- they have expiration dates- it just started going off one day. scared me to death.

  11. I hate to admit that I’ve never even thought of cleaning my smoke alarms! Leaving right now to go do that, thanks!

  12. That’s so scary! Our smoke detectors are new, but I will definitely be making sure they are clean from now on. I had no idea this could happen!

  13. Wow that would be pretty scary…will definitely clean all mine now!

  14. I am sure you gained quite a few grey hairs over that situation… I had no clue dust and debris could cause the smoke alarm to go off. Thanks so much for the info.

  15. I wouldn’t even think to clean them other than if they looked dusty.

  16. What a scary experience that was for your family! Thank goodness there wasn’t an actual fire. I honestly never thought to clean my fire alarm!

  17. So Scary… Thank You For The Great Tips Need To Clean & Change My Batteries!

  18. Amy Desrosiers says:

    Wow, I had never even thought to do this, but it makes sense. I almost died in a fire so I know how important properly functioning alarms are.

  19. I sure didn’t know that could happen! I’m so glad you mentioned it, and why does this kind of thing only happen when everyone is asleep?

  20. I had no idea we were suppose to clean them too besides change the batteries. I will definitely be telling my husband to check ours and clean them.

  21. So my dad is a firefighter and is anal about this, so I don’t have to worry. This is a great article though.

  22. Thanks so much for the post. I never heard of this!

  23. I never thought about cleaning the fire alarm before. There is another thing to add to the to do list.

  24. I didn’t know, thank you for sharing this great information! I will ask my husband to check ours!

  25. Good advice! I’m a bit of a fanatic about the carbon monoxide and fire detectors in our home. Really, what’s more important?

  26. I have never thought of cleaning my alarms before, I know battery changes are a must, I cannot tell you how many times ours have gone off in the middle of the night because they need new batteries!

  27. I worked as a glorified RA at a student residence and we always made sure to clean the fire alarms in each room at the start of every year. We never had an incident, but I think it is always better to be overly cautious with these kinds of things. – Katy

  28. This is really good information to know. Thanks for sharing!!

  29. Oh my gosh! glad everything was ok though. We’ve never had a situation with our fire alarm but not that I think of it, I gotta check if it even works!

  30. These are great tips! It never even crossed my mind to clean ours out, yikes…

  31. thank you so much for posting this! I never heard of vacuuming a smoke alarm before but you can be sure I’ll do it now!

  32. Thanks for the heads up. We always change batteries, but don’t clean it. But I guess it is better to go off when it shouldn’t than not go off when it should!

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