How do I test and clean my smoke alarm?

Smoke Alarm Maintenance

Only working smoke alarms can provide the critical early warning needed to save lives.


Monthly: Test by holding down the test button until you hear a loud alert tone, then release. Use a broom handle if you cannot reach but be careful you do not damage the smoke alarm.

Yearly: Vacuum around your smoke alarm vents with a soft brush attachment. This will remove a build-up of dust and cobwebs.

Yearly: Use a surface insect spray around the smoke alarm to prevent insects nesting inside. Do not spray inside the smoke alarm.

Yearly: Replace your 9 volt battery each year on 1 April. All smoke alarms – including mains powered alarms – have batteries. If your alarm has a 9 volt user-replaceable battery, you will need to replace the battery each year.

How do I know when my smoke alarm needs replacing?

All smoke alarms require replacement every 10 years. After 10 years the efficiency of your smoke alarm may be compromised with accumulated dust, insects, airborne contaminants and corrosion of electrical circuitry.

Smoke alarms make a warning ‘beep’ or ‘chirp’ when there is a fault or when the battery needs replacing.

Before changing the battery, check with the manufacturer’s instructions. Many smoke alarms on the market have a rechargeable battery. You will not be able to change the battery in this type of alarm.

Smoke alarms with a user-replaceable battery (9 volt alkaline) may continue to ‘chirp’ or ‘beep’ after changing the battery. The smoke alarm is likely to be faulty and will require replacement.

Please note, mains powered smoke alarms may give a low battery warning after periods of extended mains power outage. You should be aware that rechargeable batteries may need a few hours to recharge after the mains power is restored. This may be longer if the back-up battery has been totally depleted during the periods of mains power failure.

If there are many periods of power outage over the life of a smoke alarm, the rechargeable lithium cells may degrade and become inoperable.

A licensed electrical contractor is required to disconnect or install mains powered smoke alarms.

Read the whole article here: