Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Residential Nuisance Source Characteristics for Smoke Alarm Testing



Thomas G. Cleary


Nuisance scenario tests were performed in the manufactured home used in the Home Smoke Alarm fire test series. The scenario selections were based on what are commonly thought to be causes of residential nuisance alarms, and were designed to mimic normal activities (i.e. no intentional food burning, with the exception of toasted bread.) The bulk of the scenarios were related to cooking activities including: frying, deep-frying, baking, broiling, boiling, and toasting. In addition, cigarette smoking and candle burning were included. Smoldering fire scenarios were examined for comparative purposes. Aerosol concentrations, temperature, humidity, flow velocity and analog output from several photoelectric, ionization and carbon monoxide sensors were gathered. It was observed that nuisance alarms in residential settings were affected by the properties of the aerosol produced, its concentration, the location of an alarm relative to the source, and the air flow that transports smoke to an alarm. This study provides a detailed set of data that can be used to address several issues involving nuisance alarms and reinforces current suggested practices.
To Be Determined


false alarms, full-scale tests, nuisance alarms, smoke alarms, smoldering fires, test methods


Cleary, T. (2004), Residential Nuisance Source Characteristics for Smoke Alarm Testing, To Be Determined, [online], (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created September 16, 2004, Updated February 17, 2017