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Will Incense Set Off a Smoke Alarm? Tips, Facts, & FAQ

Smoke Incense

If you have incense that you want to burn in your home, it’s natural to wonder about any potential side effects. You’re creating smoke in a room with a smoke alarm, so is there anything that you need to worry about?

While it’s not likely that you’ll set off a smoke alarm with incense, it is technically possible. But just how likely is it, how can you reduce the chances of you setting it off, and do you have to worry about the sprinkler system? We answer all those questions and more for you divider

Can Incense Set Off a Smoke Alarm?

While incense can set off a smoke alarm, it’s not that likely. While burning incense produces smoke, it usually doesn’t produce enough to set off a smoke alarm.

However, just because it’s not likely doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If the incense sticks are too close to the smoke alarm or if you burn them for too long or burn too many of them, they can produce enough smoke to set off the alarm.

Tips for Avoiding Setting Off a Smoke Alarm

Photoelectric Smoke Detector
Photo Credit: siripornt, Shutterstock

When it comes to avoiding setting off a smoke alarm with incense, it comes down to two factors: proximity and quantity.

When you’re selecting a location to burn incense, try your best to find a place as far away from the smoke detector as possible. Keep in mind that smoke rises, so simply going farther down might not have the desired result.

Next, the more incense you burn, the more likely you are to set off the smoke alarm. Limit the amount of incense that you burn at once.

Some people remove the battery from the smoke detector to keep it from going off, but we highly recommend not doing this. If you forget to put the battery back in, you won’t have a smoke detector in your home, which can lead to a dangerous situation. Also, since you are indeed burning something, there’s an increased risk of a fire. If you step out of the room and a fire does start, you won’t have a system in place to warn you of the fire.

Can Incense Set Off a Sprinkler System?

While incense can set off a smoke alarm, it cannot set off a sprinkler system. While a smoke alarm goes off when it detects smoke, a sprinkler system goes off once it reaches a certain temperature. So, unless you hold up the incense right against the sprinkler system, it won’t go off, no matter how smoky the room gets.

Can You Burn Incense in an Apartment?

If you’re considering burning incense in an apartment, we highly recommend looking into the local ordinances in your areas and the rules for your apartment complex.

Typically, you cannot burn incense in an apartment unless the complex that you live in isn’t smoke-free. However since many apartment complexes in the United States are indeed smoke-free, burning incense is not allowed in most of them.

Read the rules for your apartment, look through your lease, and check the local building ordinances in your area before burning incense. When in doubt, contact your apartment company or the company that owns the building to find out the rules and regulations for your area.

gated apartments
Photo Credit: ArtisticOperations, Pixabay

Why You Need a Smoke Detector

Having your smoke detector go off on you when you’re trying to enjoy incense can be frustrating. However, smoke detectors are life-saving devices. Every year, 4,000 Americans die in home fires, and 2,000 more are severely injured. If you live in a home with working smoke alarms, you cut your risk of dying in half.

When we translate this to numbers, if every home in the United States had a working smoke alarm, there would be roughly 890 fewer deaths every year.

Smoke alarms can sometimes be frustrating to deal with, but they’re worth it when you consider how much safer they make your home.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know the risks of burning incense in your home with a smoke detector, it’s up to you to take mitigating actions to reduce the likelihood of setting off the alarm. Of course, if you live in an area where you can’t burn them indoors, don’t take the risk — follow the rules!

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Featured Image Credit: danielam, Pixabay


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