Fire Prevention: Time to Check Your Smoke Alarms, Here’s How

Spring is the perfect time to check your smoke alarm batteries.

1. Check the battery type. Installing the new batteries incorrectly, or using the wrong type, will cause your smoke detector to not function. Always make sure you are using the correct type of battery and installing the batteries correctly to ensure the detector will work.[1]
  • Detectors that use lithium batteries will last for ten years. You generally cannot replace the battery, instead, replace the entire detector after its ten year life span is expired.
  • Many detectors will make use of a 9v battery. However, some may require different types of batteries.
  • Use high quality, long lasting batteries. Using rechargeable or low quality batteries may cause your smoke detectors to fail.

2. Remove the smoke detector. You will have to take your smoke detector down from its mounting on the ceiling. If your detector is hard-wired into your house’s power system, you should turn the power off at the fuse box first.[2]

  • The method you use to remove your smoke detector from its mounting will vary depending on which model it is.
  • Most smoke detectors are removed by twisting or sliding the detector away from the mounting.
  • Some detectors will not require you remove the entire detector. These models require that you remove only the section that covers the internal components and battery.
  • Not all hard-wired smoke detectors will have a backup battery

3. Open the battery compartment and install the new battery. To access the battery, you will have to remove the cover that contains it. Exactly where the battery is located, and how it is secured, will vary from model to model. Generally, once you remove the cover of the detector, you will be able to see where the battery is located without trouble.[3]

  • The location of this cover will vary from model to model, and some may be secured with a screw or other fastening.
  • Most coverings will slide off and away from the smoke detector’s body.
  • Once open, you can remove the old battery or batteries.
  • Make sure you install the new batteries correctly. Check that the negative and positive connections are matching the labels on the smoke detector
  • Close the battery cover.
  • Check your manual for the smoke detector if you are having trouble locating or removing the battery. If you don’t have the physical copy of the manual, you may be able to find it online, at the manufacturers website

4. Test the batteries. Before you reinstall the smoke detector, you will want to make sure that the batteries are working properly. Locate and utilize the button on your smoke detector that will test the batteries.[4]

  • The location of the test button will vary.
  • Most test buttons require you to press the button for a few seconds to engage the test.
  • If successful, the alarm will sound

5. Double check if the test fails. If the alarm doesn’t sound during the test of the batteries, you will need to recheck them. Never reinstall your smoke detector until it passes this battery test and has demonstrated that it is functioning properly.[5]

  • Check to see if the batteries are installed correctly. Make sure the positive and negative terminals are matching the correct terminals in the smoke detector.
  • If the batteries are installed correctly, and the test failed, replace the batteries and try again with new ones.
  • If no new batteries are working, your detector may need replacing. You may want to contact the manufacturer, as they may replace the detector if it is under warranty.
  • Some alarms have an LED-light that will indicate if the alarm is working properly. Generally a green light indicates that the alarm is working properly, a red light indicates an issue.

Read More Here: Smoke Alarm Safety: How to check your battery