Will Burning Incense Set Off a Smoke Detector or Fire Alarm?

white smoke alarm with smoke in the air

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An Introduction to Incense

Incense is a compound comprised of various aromatic woods, resins, flowers, and fragrances.

Although incense originally began being used thousands of years ago, it has maintained popular throughout the world. There are many reasons why people burn incense, including religious purposes, such as at religious gatherings, or spiritual practices, such as meditation and yoga.

Will Incense Set off a Smoke Detector?

The short answer: The short answer is that, sure, sometimes an incense stick may set off a sensitive smoke alarm, but many of the modern smoke and fire alarms don’t have this same problem.

The long answer: Incense sticks are lit with fire and therefor create smoke. This leads to them possibly setting off smoke alarms. I know many of us have experienced unfortunate situations when we were teenagers where our incense sticks would set off the smoke alarm, leaving our parents disgruntled.

Not only that, but it would often result in families simply leaving the batteries out of their smoke or fire alarms due to convenience.

This is an obvious risk.

Fortunately incense sticks don’t necessarily set off modern smoke detectors.

Although this used to be more common with older smoke detectors due to their extreme sensitivity, more modern detectors are more able to distinguish between light smoke and dangerous situations. So, nowadays incense sticks are often compatible with smoke or fire alarms.

Not all smoke detectors are made to the same variances. In addition to that, some incense sticks are known to create more smoke then others due to varying ingredients. So keep this in mind when trying new smoke alarms or incense sticks.

If you are adverse to using incense due to the possibility of setting off your smoke alarm, or other safety concerns, then perhaps consider an aroma lamp or oil didffuser.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a collection of questions we are frequently asked and their corresponding answers.

Will Incense Set Off a Smoke Detector in a Dorm?

Yes it can, however, it depends on what smoke detectors they have,their settings, as well as the attributes of your incense. Quite a lot of college kids burn incense in their dorms, but you should absolutely ask them if it is permitted before doing so. The last thing you want is to be responsible for water damages.

Do Candles Set off Smoke Detectors or Fire Alarms?

Candles don’t really create much smoke so in most situations they are ok to burn around fire alarms as long as you keep the flame away from any sensors. If you have a candle which creates a lot of smoke though, then perhaps you shouldn’t, depending upon your situation.

Can You Burn Incense in an Apartment?

If the apartment is owned by somebody else then you should definitely ask them if you are allowed to burn incense. While many people love incense, other people may not want incense burned in their house.

Will Incense Set Off a Water Sprinkler?

If you are talking about the water sprinklers commonly found on the ceilings of apartment buildings, then most of those are set off by heat, rather then smoke, so incense wouldn’t normally set off a sprinkler, but before you burn incense in somebody else’s building you should always ask the property owner whether it is safe and/or acceptable.

Incense Safety Tips

Incense is generally considered safe to use but there are certain precautions you should take when doing so.

  • When incense sticks are lit, the burning portion of it becomes quite hot. You should never try to touch the lit portion of an incense stick.
  • You should never leave burning incense unattended due to the fire risk. You also should not burn it around textiles such as curtains or tapestries.
  • You should make sure that your incense burner is heat-resistant and suitable for burning incense.
  • People with asthma or other respiratory problems should refrain from burning incense sticks.
  • Never try to ingest incense, and you should also keep your incense away from any pets.

One thought on “Will Burning Incense Set Off a Smoke Detector or Fire Alarm?

  1. Avatar
    Dr. Yash Pole says:

    Is there a guarantee that the fire alarm & the smoke detector alarm will not go off on lighting an incense stick ?

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