Care of Smoke Detectors

A smoke detector will do its job - detect small amounts of smoke and sound an alarm - if the proper maintenance is taken. Follow the manufacturer instructions that come with your smoke detector. Some suggestions are listed below:

Once a Week or Once a Month

Check the Battery

To find out how to test your smoke detector, read the manufacturer's instructions. Most smoke detectors have a button that you press; if the smoke detector is working, the alarm will beep. If you hear only a chirp or nothing at all, you need to replace the battery.

Dust Your Smoke Detector

Dust often collects in smoke detectors, and it can cause the smoke detector to give a false alarm. The easiest way to remove this dust is to take the top off of the smoke detector and vacuum the inside using the drapery-cleaning attachment of a vacuum cleaner.

Once a Year

Replace the Battery

The average 9-volt battery needs to be replaced after 1 year of 'service' in your family's smoke detector. Multi-year batteries, used in some newer smoke detectors, should be maintained as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Once Every Ten Years

Replace the Whole Detector

Even with good upkeep, most smoke detectors have a life span of 10 years. Remove the smoke detector, follow the manufacturer's directions for disposing of the smoke detector, and replace it with a brand new smoke detector. Some newer smoke detectors have their 10-year anniversary imprinted on the cover. If you are unsure of your smoke detector's age, it is always better to err on the side of safety.