Residential Smoke Detector Information

If you have a fire, your risk of dying in a fire can be nearly cut in half if your residence has a smoke alarm. 

  • Smoke alarms sense abnormal amounts of smoke or invisible combustion gases in the air. They can detect both smoldering and flaming fires.

In new homes: 

  • The National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72) requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms with battery back-up on every level of the home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom. Alarms must be wired together so that if one sounds, they all sound.

In existing homes:

  • If smoke alarms are not already in place, at a minimum install them on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area.
  • If a fire occurs inside a bedroom, dangerous gases can cause heavier sleep. For the best protection, install interconnected smoke alarms in each bedroom and throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

To prevent nuisance alarms, vacuum cobwebs and dust from your smoke alarms monthly. 

  • Never disable a smoke alarm, even if you experience nuisance alarms while cooking or showering. Instead, use the alarm’s “hush” button. If nuisance alarms are a persistent problem, look for a different type of smoke alarm and ensure they are installed in correct areas in the home.

Use the test button to test your smoke alarms at least monthly. 

  • The test feature tests all electronic functions and is safer than testing with a controlled fire (matches, lighters, cigarettes).
  • If the manufacturer's instructions permit the use of an aerosol smoke product for testing the smoke alarm, choose one that has been examined and tested by a third-party product testing laboratory, and use it in accordance with the product instructions.

If you have battery-powered smoke alarms, replace the batteries at least once a year. 

  • Some agencies recommend that you replace batteries when the time changes from standard to daylight savings each spring and then back again in the fall. "Change your clock, change your batteries." Replacing batteries this often will not hurt, but fresh batteries typically last at least a year, so more frequent replacement is not necessary unless the smoke alarm begins to chirp.
  • Replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide (CO) alarms at the same time you replace your smoke alarm batteries.

Replace your smoke alarms every 10 years. 

  • This is the recommendation of the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Smoke alarms become less sensitive over time.
  • Having working smoke detectors in your home greatly reduces your chance of death or serious injury should a fire occur in your home. When installing smoke alarms, make sure they are installed in the correct location and be sure to follow the manufactures instructions. If you have existing smoke detectors, test them monthly, keep them free of dust and debris to ensure they are in proper working order. These are important steps to making your home and family safer from fire. Visit the National Fire Protection Association for detailed information on installation and maintenance of smoke detectors.

Some quick facts about residential smoke detectors:

  1. Even hardwired smoke detectors have batteries and should be replaced at the regular interval recommended by the manufacture.
  2. A smoke detector that beeps once every 30-60 seconds may need a new battery, always replace with new batteries.
  3. Smoke detectors have a 10 year service life, if you have replaced the batteries in your smoke detectors and they still beep, it could be time to replace the detector. Most detectors have a date on the back indicating when they were manufactured.
  4. Remember to be safe when using ladders and performing any type of home maintenance. 

If you are unable to install or replace smoke detectors in your home, we may be able to help! Click the link below, fill out and submit the form and someone will be in contact with you.

Residential Smoke Detector Assistance Request