Smoke Detector Maintenance

Having a working set of smoke detectors in your home is vital for fire safety. Smoke detectors can wake a whole family in the middle of the night, or alert you to a fire on the opposite side of the house, giving you precious time to save yourself and your loved ones. Hard-wired smoke detectors are powered by the AC current in your home, but also use battery backups in case of a power failure. If your detectors chirp, trigger falsely or not at all, repair or replace them.

1 Test the sensor with smoke. Light a candle or match and quickly blow it out. Hold the smoke underneath the detector to check if it triggers the alarm.

2 Test the siren and connectivity. Many hard-smoke alarms will trigger together if one detector goes off. Press the test button on the outside cover to trigger the alarm. Check that all other alarms in your home trigger as well.

3 Check and replace batteries. The smoke detector will chirp every few minutes when the battery backup is low. Replace the 9-volt batteries at least twice a year.

4 Clean the unit. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean out any dust buildup that may block the sensor or trigger false alarms. Make sure not to remove any covers while cleaning, as damage to the sensors may occur. After cleaning, double check the smoke detector still works as described in the steps above.