How to Disable Smoke Detectors

Written by cynthia measom
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How to Disable Smoke Detectors
Sometimes the smoke that sets off your smoke detector is not an indication of danger. (Smoke image by Czintos Ã--dön from

While smoke detectors are designed to alert you of dangerous smoke, if you inadvertently set off a smoke detector with smoke from cooking or a cigarette, it will result in incessant ear-piercing tones that you likely won't want to listen to indefinitely. Fortunately, you can temporarily disable the detector and then reset it so that it can perform its duty as a smoke-sensing device.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Stepladder or sturdy chair

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  1. 1

    Retrieve a stepladder or a sturdy chair and take it over to the wall or ceiling area where the smoke detector is installed. Carefully climb up onto the chair or ladder.

  2. 2

    Locate the arrow that indicates where you open up the appliance and open it. Some detectors will snap open at the bottom and the lid will swing outward so you can access the battery, while others will have a lever attached to a small panel that you can release to open it.

  3. 3

    Find the 9-volt battery. Pull the bottom of the battery toward you by placing the tip of your finger underneath it. Reach up with the other hand and gently pull the top of the battery loose from the connector if it did not already disconnect when you pulled on it.

  4. 4

    Leave the panel or lid open and get down from the chair or ladder. Place the battery where you can find it easily and wait for the smoke to dissipate before reinstalling the battery. If you reinstall the battery too quickly, the alarm will go off again.

Tips and warnings

  • Leaving the panel open on the smoke detector will help you remember that you need to replace the battery.
  • Some smoke alarms have a reset button that you can push to stop it from emitting the alarm. If this is the case, you don't need to remove the battery.
  • After you reinstall the battery, push the test button on the device so you can ensure it is working correctly.
  • Don't remove the battery from your detector unless it's absolutely necessary. You wouldn't want to suffer a situation where you weren't alerted to a fire. If you must disable the detector, be sure to replace it so it can perform if necessary.

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