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Jan 12, 2009 12:05 PM

I finally set off the smoke detector!

I believe this is a record--nearly 4 months in the new place. So now it's officially my kitchen. :)

2 questions:

1) When is the kitchen officially yours? (for me, setting off the smoke detector!)

2) What is the longest you've gone before setting off/unplugging the smoke detector in your new kitchen?

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  1. Ugh. The smoke detector in my apartment is hardwired to the building. It's good b/c it means my neighbors can't disable theirs and potentially kill me when the alarm doesn't go off, but it's really annoying since I can't disable it when my cooking sets it off. Thankfully the detector is as far from the kitchen as possible (2 room apartment, so it's next to the bedroom door). I've only set it off 3 times in the past 3 years, always from food spilled on the oven floor or stove top. My upstairs neighbor, on the other hand, sets hers of at least once a week.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mpjmph

      The building managers should be able to fix that. Ours is hardwired as well, but it only sets off the whole building if the smoke or heat gets to a certain level (or perhaps it only sets off the building if it goes off for a certain period of time?). E.g. we've set it off in our apartment (it is about 4 feet from our very poorly ventilated stovetop), with no impact on the building. But, the other day, one woman must have set her entire dinner on fire, b/c there was so much smoke from her dinner (when I was descending the stairwell, it had fish-smelling smoke around her floor). It set off the whole building - 40 apartments of people, at dinnertime, wondering who did it, until the fire chief (and his three truckloads of firefighters) reamed her out for not telling them as they arrived that her apartment was the problem. I felt kind of bad for her - she was clearly just embarrassed.

      As for when it's fully my own: after I scrub out the cabinets and drawers and put in all of my plates, etc., and stock the fridge. I think the cleaning is the big part - scraping off any remnants of the prior tenant that the cleaning service is too rushed to get to.

      1. re: Cachetes

        oh... just read my post and realized how unclear it is - sorry! I've never actually set the alarm off for the whole building, my neighbor hasn't either. It's the same system as yours, if it goes off for a certain period of time without the button being pushed, then the rest of the building alarms go off. I can still hear my neighbor's, even though it's just her single detector. It's pretty routine now, I hear the initial beep-beep-beep, then thump, crash, and the sound of her running across the living room dragging a chair to reach the button.

        The very first time I set mine off it scared the crap out of me. I was roasting chicken, but the hand-me-down pan had lots of gunk on the bottom that I hadn't noticed. It burned off, I didn't think it was enough smoke to set off the alarm, but it was. I flung open the sliding glass door and slammed the screen shut, then grabbed a chair to reach the detector. You have to hold the button down for 30 seconds to get it to stop (with the speaker right next to your ear, of course). Once the alarm stopped I climbed down, relieved. Then I noticed that the screen door was still 6 inches ajar, and my cat was out on the patio (I live on the ground floor), one foot lifted, ready to step through the railing to freedom, and looking over her shoulder as if to see if I noticed/cared. Kitty was quickly scooped up and carried inside. I am now much more careful about turning on the vent fan and opening windows/closing screens before I start cooking anything even potentially smokey.

        1. re: mpjmph

          I love the description of kitty, foot over the edge, testing your love. I just checked our detector - no button. Hmm. I guess I'll have to stick with the "cookie-sheet transformed into industrial fan" method of stopping the alarm.

    2. Ours goes off everytime we use the oven (and I hear neighbouring ones go off on a regular basis). I believe it went off the first time about 2 weeks after moving in. We didn't cook the first couple of weeks; we were doing research on the local delivery options :).

      We have the habit now of taking it down and placing it in the middle of the bed when we turn on the oven, or when it goes off due to kitchen heat. That way we remember to put it back up before sleeping.

      1. They should really make those things so they are not so sensitive. People disconnect them cuz they get fed up. Mine is hardwired too, but it is disabled. It went off when I made toast, boiled a teakettle or more though...hee hee hee hee

        3 Replies
        1. re: billieboy

          We had 3 major apartment fires in my town last fall, several injuries and one death. Two of the fires destroyed entire buildings (20-30 units), the third damaged 3 apartments. All of them were electrical fires that started in kitchens with no one home, so they spread until people outside noticed the flames. I know the fire alarms are a pain, but for the sake of yourself (and your neighbors!) please don't disable the detector completely. I think Sooeygun has a decent Idea, though not feasible if the detector is hard wired. You could always buy another, battery operated one and do what Sooeygun does.

          1. re: mpjmph

            I understand the seriousness of smoke detectors and was hoping for a more lighthearted thread on setting them off.

          2. re: billieboy

            you must have some potent farts, billieboy!

          3. I have only set off the detector once. It was before we were married and I had the bright idea of doing blackened redfish in a tiny apartment. This was 15 or so years ago so I guess I've gotten pretty good at this whole cooking thing. When is the kitchen officially mine? When I walk in the door!

            1. Have you ever set off your carbon monoxide detector? For some reason every time I do a slow cooked braise with wine in it, it sets off my CO detector. The first time it happened I panicked and thought we had to evacuate but then figured out what it was. Now I just to try remember to unplug it and take out the battery before I start braising. Weird!