Moved into a "new to us" home a few months ago. Made a small renovation (halved the kitchen and created a spare room). Four usable rooms total and a furnace/hot water heater utility room on 1st floor - and we have FOUR hardwired smoke/CO alarms in close proximity just down here alone. There is also one hardwired smoke detector on the 2nd floor, and one separate smoke/CO installed by ADT serviced though the security system on the first floor. We think there are TOO MANY detectors on the first floor, but we went by local code. We hate them. They are going off ALL THE TIME when we cook. I'm scared each time I cook. Today, husband cooked bacon, with the windows open and a useless exhaust fan (just sucks up and back into the kitchen) and the fire alarm went off several times - loud as can be - just about gives us heart attacks and scares the bejeebers out of the dog. Can we simply unplug, and leave unplugged, ONE of the hard wired alarms, and leave the rest? Will unplugging the one (they are 3 in very close proximity) allow the other 4 to work interconnectedly? These are plug in type, sealed batteries. Help. We're losing our minds over here.

  • Would check local regulations first(quite a few now require smoke and CO detector/s). Local fire departments are very good about giving advice in your home about how many needed and where they should be placed.
    – crip659
    Aug 20, 2021 at 20:35
  • thank you....code official approved what is existing (4) and was was added by creating a spare room (1 more)...code was abided by; I guess the question then is why are there 4 of them in such close proximity - but the newest b/c it is a bedroom must have a hardwired alarm. Gonna have a heart attack. I guess I'll give the fire department a call....but I do wonder can we just unplug the one without harming the entire hardwired system.
    – Mrs. C.
    Aug 21, 2021 at 0:55
  • We are required to have them in the bedrooms and they must be connected together so all go off at the same time. We were told not to put one in the kitchen. I would check about removing the one closest to the cooking appliances. We do not have one open space but the rooms are broken off with a partition and doors separating them. The headers above the doors keep the cooking smoke from setting them off.
    – Gil
    Aug 21, 2021 at 2:34
  • There is no header on the door to the kitchen...it is a wide doorway and vertically the opening is from floor to ceiling; basically you enter the kitchen through the hallway and the opening is created by the walls on either side of the doorway. I just didn't want to a) violate codes or b) harm the system; or c) cause any unknown safety or use issues with the system. It was definitely going off because of the cooking bacon yesterday. But, it has gone off before while cooking. If it wasn't so blaringly loud it would not be so problematic. At this point, I'm gonna call the fire dept to check.
    – Mrs. C.
    Aug 21, 2021 at 8:36

1 Answer 1


You need to find out:

  • What type of detectors you have
  • Are the detectors appropriate for the locations and are they installed properly
  • What alarm conditions are occurring

Anecdotally, this sounds like (a) more detectors than needed and/or (b) wrong type/location. But there are too many unknowns to start simply disconnecting things. A few things to consider (all related to the above facts, once determined):

  • Smoke detectors can work a couple of different ways (ionization vs. photoelectric) and are sensitive to different types of fires to different degrees. They are not "one size fits all", though due to short-sighted regulations (IMNSHO), some places may not give you options.
  • Almost certainly CO (carbon monoxide - deadly at low levels and shouldn't be present in your home at all) detector, not CO2 (carbon dioxide - deadly at high levels but produced naturally by people & pets). If you are getting CO alarms (as opposed to smoke or heat), that is a real, serious, do something about it concern.
  • There are guidelines from detector manufacturers about how/where to place detectors relative to cooking appliances to minimize false alarms. I have had smoke detectors go off due to cooking, but not due to normal cooking.

Your exhaust vent issue is a major factor.

A kitchen exhaust fan has two separate purposes:

  • Remove cooking smells, smoke and particulate from the air.

A well-designed, filtered, properly functioning recirculating fan can do that. It pulls the dirty air in through a filter and sends out (mostly, hopefully) clean air. A simple exhaust fan will often do a better job, but a recirculating fan can take care of this.

  • Remove CO and CO2 from the kitchen.

The only practical way to do this, unless you are on a submarine or spacecraft where the expense of special equipment is warranted, is to exhaust the air to the outside. This is not a concern for electric cooktops. It is a must for natural gas/propane cooktops.

If your cooktop is on an outside wall then generally this is straightforward - mainly a matter of figuring out how to cut an appropriate size hole through the wall behind the fan.

If your cooktop is on an inside wall then you have to go up to the roof (often that means going up through cabinets, taking away some cabinet space) or up to the ceiling and across to the nearest outside wall.

If your cooktop is on an island then you have to have an exhaust hood hanging down from the ceiling.

  • 1
    The fire alarms are fire/and/carbon monoxide - you are right, I incorrectly wrote CO2 because I'm flustered. The fire alarm is going off almost every time we cook. Admittedly, hubby likely had the flame too high cooking bacon, but this is ridiculous - had window open and patio door open. Range hood fan is useless. In order to vent it outside, I'd have to tear out cabinets. What brand are the detectors? The one that keeps setting off from cooking is a Kidde. They are all hardwired and have plugs that are snapped into the ceiling fixture. I would assume they are installed properly.
    – Mrs. C.
    Aug 20, 2021 at 20:49
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    Based on "had the flame too high", I assume you are talking natural gas or propane and not electric (some people colloquially refer to an electric burner as "flame" but obviously it isn't a real flame). Updating answer based on that. Aug 20, 2021 at 21:01
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    Gas stove. Inside wall with vent/hood above it. Many type of this hood that do not vent outside are installed in homes. There is zero chance we will go through 2 floors to vent it, remove cabinets, etc. That isn't the question here; that isn't the problem or issue. Will unplugging ONE hardwired smoke/carbon monoxide detector ruin the system or stop the remaining 4 from working? It has already been unplugged. The remaining appear to be working as evidenced by the dot of light on each. The unplugged one is within 6 feet of 2 others, and 17 feet of another. 1 is upstairs.
    – Mrs. C.
    Aug 21, 2021 at 0:51
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    @Mrs.C. -- is the alarm 3-beeps (smoke) or 4-beeps (carbon monoxide)? Aug 21, 2021 at 0:56
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    Honestly, I can't remember the beeps, but assume fire b/c of the bacon cooking, and other times when I've been cooking. the ADT alarm would warn of carbon monoxide, and it has not; it is not connected to the other hardwired system; they are two separate systems. Gonna leave the one unplugged for now. Just unplugged and leave the others alone; they are all "lit" by the little green light so I guess no harm done. Gonna call the fire inspector.
    – Mrs. C.
    Aug 21, 2021 at 17:04

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