Do Dry Ice Machines Set Off Smoke Alarms? – What You Need To Know!

Dry ice machines give an incredible effect to any party, wedding, concert, or Halloween event. The fog that comes out of these machines can create a theatrical atmosphere or make the light display come alive as the beams bounce through it. But what happens if you use them indoors – will they set off your smoke alarm?

Dry ice machines do not set off smoke alarms. Dry ice is carbon dioxide in a solid form, caused by freezing temperatures of around -109.3 °F (-78.5 °C). When melted into a gas, it turns into a fog that stays near the ground. It doesn’t contain particles, and therefore, it won’t set off the smoke alarm.

In this article, we’ll discuss dry ice machines, why smoke alarms go off, why you should buy a dry ice machine instead of a fog machine, risks around these machines, and other interesting purposes of dry ice. 

Why Smoke Alarms Go Off

Whether you’re having a wedding or putting on a show, there are numerous ways to create that spectacular, theatrical, or mysterious atmosphere that a fog machine produces. However, some of those machines can set off the smoke alarm. 

Fires set off smoke alarms because the smoke contains soot and heat. If the concentration of the smoke particles is thicker than a specific density, the smoke alarm will go off. 

Unlike dry ice machines, fog machines can set off the fire alarm. Although it contains no fire, the fog rises and becomes denser around the alarm. It also contains particles. These two factors mimic that of smoke from a fire and therefore can set off the alarm.

Fog machines have become a struggle in schools and theatres. They are necessary for setting a scene yet can also create a nuisance because they set off the smoke alarm. There are two ways to prevent this.

The first option is to release the fog in smaller bursts. You don’t need a lot of fog for it to be effective. Make sure to turn it on for 5 minutes and then turn it off for 5 minutes. It will take a lot more effort from you this way, but it’ll prevent dense fog particles from accumulating around the smoke alarm.

The second option is to buy a dry ice machine.

Why You Should Buy a Dry Ice Machine

Although smoke machines are cheaper, dry ice machines are hassle-free, easy to use, produce thicker fog, and don’t leave your floor wet and needing thorough cleaning after you finish using them. You’ll also never have to stress about your smoke alarm going off. 

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. This gas naturally exists in our atmosphere and is absorbed by plants. It’s the gas that we breathe out every day. 

When the dry ice meets hot water, it melts and becomes a vapor that creates the fog used at parties and events. The fog stays near the ground and is mostly made up of water vapor that isn’t dense and doesn’t contain particles – therefore, it won’t set off the alarm. 

If you’re looking for a dry ice machine for your next event, I recommend the Bonvenon Dry Ice Fog Machine from It’s easy to operate and can contain up to 7 lbs (3kg) of dry ice at once.

How To Use Dry Ice Machines

Most dry ice machines work relatively similarly and will be ready to use in a few simple steps. Here’s what you have to do: 

  1. Twist the knob and open the lid to the dry ice machine.
  2. Pour in the required amount of distilled water.
  3. Close and secure the lid.
  4. Plug the machine in.
  5. A red light will turn on, letting you know that it is heating up.
  6. When the machine has heated up, the light will go green.
  7. Open the lid and shovel in the required amount of dry ice.
  8. Your dry ice machine will start to pump out a thick fog.

Safety Considerations When Using Dry Ice Machines

As fantastic of a setting dry ice machines can produce, they do carry some risks. It’s essential to understand and handle dry ice and the machinery with care:

  1. When handling dry ice, it is vital to wear gloves and safety glasses. Due to its freezing temperature, dry ice can give you frostbite if touched without protection.
  2. Never use dry ice machines in a room without ventilation. High carbon dioxide levels trapped inside a room with no ventilation can deplete the oxygen level, making it very hard to breathe. The results can be headaches, confusion, and suffocation which can ultimately lead to death.

Other Uses For Dry Ice 

Dry ice is not only used to create fog in shows or events but also for everyday purposes.

Other applications of dry include:

  • Keeping products cold in shops or on transportation. 
  • You can make insect traps using dry ice. Mosquitoes are attracted to CO2, and the dry ice removes oxygen from the space, killing them. 
  • Dry ice can be used in plumbing as a way to plug up holes. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that this is only a stopgap measure, and leaks and bursts should be seen to by a qualified person.
  • Dry ice blasting can be used to remove tough dirt from areas that water wouldn’t be able to go, such as around electric cables.
  • Dry ice is used to preserve organs when they are being transported for transplants.
  • It adds bubbles to your drinks.