How to Change a Smoke Detector

Updated May 03, 2018

Smoke detectors are designed to warn you when a fire erupts in your home or place of business. When smoke rises and enters the smoke detector a loud noise comes out of the smoke detector. This noise continues until the batteries are removed or the source of the smoke is removed. Smoke detectors may not work correctly if the batteries are not changed and if the smoke detector is not replaced every seven to eight years.

Check your current smoke detectors by pressing the button on the front of them. If you hear a loud beep, that means the batteries and the smoke detector is working properly. If, however, the smoke detector fails to go off you may need to replace the batteries or to change the detector.

Open the smoke detector by twisting the front of it and pulling it outward, twist to the left. Twisting right tightens it back on. Take the batteries out and replace them with new ones. Then twist the smoke detector cover back on.

Change the entire smoke detector. If after you replace the batteries, the button does not produce noise, it is time to change the entire smoke detector. It is good to replace smoke detectors about every seven to eight years. Remove the smoke detector from the wall. You may need a screwdriver to remove the smoke detector if it has a wall mount. Other smoke detectors are just stuck on to the wall, in which case you can just pull them off.

Purchase a new smoke detector. Before you buy a new smoke detector check with your local fire brigade to see if they offer them for free. If not, home improvement stores generally sale smoke detectors.

Peel the sticky backing off of the back of the smoke detector and place it where your old detector was. Press hard and hold it for sixty seconds so that it is sure to adhere to the wall. If your smoke detector comes with a mount, you will need to use a screwdriver and the equipment that came with the smoke detector to install the mount where the old smoke detector was. You can then twist your smoke detector to the right and it will lock in to place on the wall mount.


Some smoke detectors are mounted to the wall with the batteries in the back. You may need to twist the whole unit off and remove the battery cover to get to the batteries. Some fire brigades will change your smoke detectors for you.


Never place your smoke detectors low to the ground. They should be six to twelve inches from the ceiling, because hot air rises.

Things You'll Need

  • Smoke detector
  • Batteries
  • Screwdriver
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About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.