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Do vapes set off smoke alarms?

1/12/2024, 2:37:44 PM 568

Do you have a smoke alarm in your home that you don't want to set off when you vape? Or are you just curious if vapour from an e-cigarette can actually set off a smoke alarm? Either way, you're not alone. To help answer these questions, we've put together this comprehensive guide to smoke alarms and vaping. Let's start with the basics.

Can Vaping Set Off A Smoke Alarm?

Vaping can absolutely set off a smoke alarm, however, not all smoke detectors are sensitive to vapour. First of all, there are three types of smoke alarms:

  • Heat Alarms - While this particular type of smoke detector is among the least common, you may run into them here and there. They work by detecting rapid temperature rises or by setting a temperature threshold that triggers the alarm when it is exceeded. This type of alarm is the least likely to be set off by vapour from an e-cig.
  • Ionisation - Easily the most common type of smoke alarm, ionisation alarms work by detecting changes in conductivity. When smoke from a fire enters one of these devices, the smoke particles disrupt the electrical current inside, which triggers the alarm. Due to the nature of their design, ionisation alarms can detect vapour. While there's no guarantee that they will, it is certainly possible.
  • Optical - When it comes to optical alarms, they are perhaps second only to ionisation alarms in their ability and likelihood to detect vapour. In order to detect smoke, they use infrared light that triggers the alarm when it's disrupted by smoke particles. This type of alarm works particularly well when detecting the smoke particles produced by slow-burning fires.

Different types of smoke alarms will affect the results

There are three main kinds of smoke alarms, and they vary in sensitivity when it comes to vapor:

Heat Alarms

Heat alarms, also called rate-of-rise detectors, are triggered by sudden increases in temperature rather than smoke particles. They likely won't detect the relatively cool vapor produced by vaping. Heat alarms are common in kitchens.

Ionization Alarms

Ionization alarms use a small amount of radioactive material to ionize air molecules and detect disruptions when smoke enters. Denser vape clouds can potentially set them off, but they're less sensitive than optical models overall. They are found in many offices and public buildings.

Optical Smoke Alarms

Optical smoke alarms use a light beam and sensor to detect particles. The vape aerosol can reflect and scatter the light enough to activate the alarm if it is dense enough. Optical models are the most sensitive and commonly used in homes.

TypeSensitivityWhere you may see it
Heat alarmsUnlikely to detect vapourKitchens
Ionisation alarmsLess likely to be activated from vapourPublic buildings and offices
Optical smoke alarmsThe most sensitive to vapourHome

How to Avoid Setting off Smoke Alarm?

While occasional false alarms from vaping may be inevitable, there are ways to minimize the nuisance. Here are some tips to stop your vape from triggering smoke detectors:

Vape in Rooms With Good Ventilation

Vape in open, ventilated spaces like a room with an open window or door to allow vapor to readily dissipate instead of concentrating. Avoid small enclosed areas where vapor is more likely to be detected.

Maintain Distance From Smoke Detectors

Keeping a reasonable distance from smoke detectors when exhaling vapor reduces the risk of the concentrated cloud reaching the sensors. Avoid vaping right next to detectors.

How To Vape Without Setting Off Smoke Alarms

As we noted above, some smoke alarms can detect the vapour from e-cigarettes. For those that want to know how to avoid setting off a smoke alarm when vaping, here are some techniques and products that may help you avoid triggering an alarm:

Low VG E-Liquid

Vape juice is often made with both vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol, known commonly in the world of vaping as VG and PG. As vegetable glycerine produces a thicker cloud of vapour than propylene glycol, using a vape juice that contains more PG than VG can help reduce the chances of setting off a smoke alarm.

Low-Powered Vaping Devices

High-powered vapes might be great for vaping but the large clouds that they're capable of producing might work against you if you're trying to avoid triggering a smoke alarm. A low-powered device like a pod vape, especially one that allows you to adjust the wattage or voltage, can help reduce the risk of setting off an alarm.

Good Ventilation

Vaping in an area that is properly ventilated can work wonders when it comes to avoiding triggering an alarm. A properly ventilated area will help dissipate any vapour in the air, making it less likely to set off an alarm.

Smokeless Devices & Vapourless Vape Juice

Pod systems are sometimes designed to produce less vapour. While many vapers prefer more vapour, there is no shortage of those who prefer less. Subsequently, there are a number of vaping devices on the market that are capable of producing minimal vapour. While our own Sikary vape pen is capable of producing thick clouds of vapour, its airflow and wattage adjustments make it possible to calibrate its vapour production to produce less vapour.

Two other options that are available on the market are stealth vapes, which are sometimes known as vapourless vapes, and vapourless vape juice, both of which are designed to produce less vapour. With "vapourless" vape juice, significantly more propylene glycol is used in place of vegetable glycerin to achieve minimal vapour production when vaped.

Air Filter Or Smoke Filter

There are a number of different active and passive air filters available on the open market that can help capture vapour and prevent it from reaching a smoke detector and triggering the alarm. There are even filters designed specifically for capturing smoke, which can also work with vapour. These types of filters often employ a combination of filtration and adsorption to reduce the amount of smoke or vapour particles in the air, reducing the likelihood that your vapour will set off a smoke alarm.