Friday, November 6, 2009

Kim vs. The Smoke Detector

We lived in the same tiny apartment in San Diego for five years and set off the smoke alarm once, with good reason. We accidentally set a piece of wax paper on fire.

Since we have moved, we have set the smoke detector off four times in four weeks. Twice for bacon, once for pizza, and once for a steamy shower. Can you believe that our shower set it off?! None of these incidents were emergencies or anything more than the normal smoke that you get when you cook. I'm convinced that most people don't cook and that people who might cook would be deterred by a super-sensitive smoke alarm.

Solution number one: open the sliding door after the smoke alarm goes off. Sure it lets our heat out and the weather is getting chilly, but it gets the smoke out too. Not a viable solution, plus we still have to listen to the alarm.

Solution number two: turn on the exhaust fan and close the bathroom door when showering. Ok, this one works for the steamy shower problem but does nothing to help with the cooking. It's only a partial solution

Solution number three: Ask maintenance if there's anything they can do. "Live with it," they said.

Solution number four: Don't cook meats, especially bacon. Do-able but it limits our menu, and I don't like that.

Solution number five: Turn on the microwave vent and watch as the smoke does not get sucked to an outside vent, rather gets blown right back into the kitchen. Surprisingly, this is the solution that actually works.

Last night was the big test for solution number five. I made grilled chicken fajitas using my grill pan. The whole kitchen got smoky, but the smoke alarm did not go off! Maybe the microwave filters the smoke before it sends it back out. Maybe the vent back into the kitchen pushes the smoke in a direction where the smoke detector can't find it. We were amazed, but happy that we've found solution.


Anonymous said...

I had the same issue when I was living at home, We had to remember to turn on the fan in the bathroom and keep the door closed after we showered... still after 10 years of living there we forgot so much my Dad just took the darn battery out! haha
BUT it happens all the time to the downstairs one and we've just gotten used to fanning it with a towel, it's good to be safe but I can't believe how tempermental some of these things are!

Kim in the Kitchen said...

It's good to know that we aren't alone in the battle of the smoke detectors! Fanning it with a towel is a good idea, I'll have to remember that one. I also forgot to mention that it went off for absolutely no reason once. Crazy thing!

Anonymous said...

I agree! Take the battery out. Nona