Replacing Smoke Detector Batteries

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Replacing Smoke Detector Batteries
(Toastyken, Seth Tisue)

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When to Replace Smoke Detector Batteries

Smoke detector batteries should be replaced at least once a year. People often change them when the clocks change in the spring or fall, but any time is fine. You should also change your batteries anytime your detector emits a low-power warning. This usually sounds like a chirp that occurs once a minute. If your smoke detector is more than 10 years old, you will need to replace the entire detector and not just the batteries.

Steps Necessary Before Replacing Smoke Detector Batteries

Before beginning, you will need a stool or ladder and the correct batteries for your smoke detector. Most smoke detectors use 9-volt batteries. However, according to Battery 411 Blog, not all 9-volt batteries are the same size (see "Additional Resources," below). Therefore, you may want to stick with the same brand of battery. Also, you should never use rechargeable batteries in a smoke detector. If your smoke detector is also connected to your house's electrical system, you will need to turn off the power to it as well.

How to Replace Your Smoke Detector Batteries

Climb up to the smoke alarm, slide open the battery door and replace the old battery with a new one. Make sure you insert the battery so the positive (+) and negative (-) sides or ends match up on the battery and the smoke detector. Some 9-volt smoke detectors may require you to connect the battery with a type of snap. You may need to twist the smoke detector off the wall or open the cover to find the battery. Have a vacuum handy so you can remove all the dust and debris from your smoke detectors while you have the covers open. Then, close the door, replace the smoke detector and turn the power back on (if necessary). On a small piece of tape, write the date and place it on the side of the smoke detector. Finally, test your smoke detector by pressing the test button.

Some batteries are located inside the smoke detector.
Some batteries are located inside the smoke detector.

Maintaining Your Smoke Detector

According to the International Association of Fire Chiefs, although 96 per cent of homes in America have smoke detectors, up to 19 per cent of these detectors may not be working because of missing or dead batteries. This results in hundreds of needless fatalities each year. Make sure that you test your smoke detectors once a month and change the batteries at least once a year to avoid becoming part of this statistic. Also, if you have elderly relatives or neighbours, offer to check their smoke detectors for them.

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