Fire officials are shedding light on a little-known phenomenon that can cause the number of false alarms to soar in the muggy summer months: Some smoke detectors can be accidentally set off by high humidity.
It’s a problem smoke detectors with ionization sensors appear particularly susceptible to, as hot, humid air can be mistaken for smoke.
Halifax Fire and Emergency Services say crews have responded to nearly triple the number of false alarms as a blanket of humidity settles over the region.
Matt Covey, division chief for fire prevention, says regular maintenance and cleaning of smoke alarms would help prevent the problem.
He says when an ionization detector is dusty, it makes the humidity more likely to set off the alarm.
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The Maritime provinces have been under a heat warning this week, as temperatures reach 36 degrees with the humidex.
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Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says humidity in the region has been higher than normal over the last few days.
Although showers are expected to cool temperatures later this week, he says the humidity will stick around.