Have you been experiencing changes in your smoke detector lately? Perhaps it’s time to evaluate the issue at hand and uncover the underlying problem. But more often than not, concerns about smoke detectors are associated with the battery.
Therefore, it’s important to learn the basics. In this guide, you are equipped with information on how to know when to change the battery in the smoke detector. In addition, you acquire other relevant insights like changing the battery on your own.
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Signs that you need to replace the battery
Smoke detectors, either battery-operated or hard-wired, last for many years. Both devices generally work for up to 10 years, although this may be reduced significantly if there are issues with the equipment. Additionally, battery-operated smoke alarms need to take into account the lifespan of the batteries.
The batteries typically function for 6 months up to 1 year. That is why you should have spare batteries in case of emergency. Aside from the normal life span of the batteries, you should also keep an eye on visible signs that signify replacement.
Below are some factors to help you determine if the battery should be changed or not.
1. Chirping noise surrounds the smoke alarm.
Are there high-pitched sounds coming from the device? This is one of the clear indications that the battery should be replaced as soon as possible. As a general rule, the detector chirps when the battery gets low. As the sporadic noise suggests that the battery power is already too low, this should not be ignored.
There are even devices that would continue to produce these annoying chirp sounds if you disregard the problem. More so, ignoring this sign can actually be risky since you are hampering the work of the smoke alarm, which is to detect smoke and prevent a possible fire.
Thus, you need to be cautious and always be ready with battery replacements in your home. Having a battery backup is pivotal for a seamless installation. Likewise, you need to make it a habit to change all smoke detector batteries simultaneously. This way, there’ll only be one reminder to take note of.
Ideally, you need to change batteries every after 6 months, following Daylight Savings Time. Once you swap the old batteries with the new ones, the chirping sounds will definitely stop, unless there are problems with the device in general.
If this happens, you should contact a professional electrician to assess the issue. There could be damage in the key components that needed to be addressed immediately.
2. The smoke detector does not work as intended.
Smoke detectors are designed to sense possible traces of smoke to give notice to people within the expanse. However, just like all technological advancements, there could be errors with the manufacturers. Therefore, it’s highly suggested that you test the device at least once a month to ensure its performance.
This way, you are able to ensure the safety of the people around you from fire and other related accidents. It also gives you an idea of whether the battery is doing its job to alert you in case of smoke detection. Most smoke detectors have a “test” feature that you can use to check their working condition.
You just click the specific test buttons and wait for the beeping sounds. Once you heard the beep, then it means that the device is functioning properly. However, if the sound is a very muffled one, or worst, there are no sounds during the trial, it’s an indication of a problem.
And one of the common remedies is to change the smoke alarm batteries. It may seem like trouble to run regular tests, but it’s the most beneficial and preventive measure to avoid fire.
3. Inconsistent alarms are popping out of nowhere.
The main responsibility of smoke detectors is to alert people to potential accidents caused by smoke. But what if your alarm goes off for no exact reason? Well, that could be a crucial problem within the detector component or the home’s electrical system itself.
Generally, when the device picks up other elements like dust or other particles, it does not give alarms. It only focuses on any hint of smoke that may spiral into a fire accident. But, if your device is becoming more sensitive to the slightest elements other than smoke, it could be a manifestation of battery problems.
And of course, when alarms go off, you’d be hearing sounds that won’t stop unless the triggers are removed. Likewise, alerts from smoke detectors are loud and frightening. These may cause stress and anxiety, which is why homeowners are left with no option but to disconnect the device.
Unfortunately, turning off the smoke detector leaves you more susceptible to accidents. Thus, if you’ve been experiencing problems like inconsistent alarms, it’s high time to get a new smoke detector battery. Remove the old battery and replace them with fresh and functional ones.
4. There are defective parts that affect the device as a whole.
The key parts of a smoke detector are highly associated with one another. And if one major component is faulty, it significantly impacts the entire working performance of the smoke alarm. Therefore, if you own a smoke detector, you need to be watchful of the condition of your device.
More so, if there are instances of unpredictable alarms and other defective parts, you should report these to the retailer or directly to the manufacturer. The reason for this is that there could be models that contain faulty parts, which lead to malfunctioning detectors.
In fact, there have been reports in the past about recalled smoke alarms. Back in 2021, there were around 226,000 smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors that were recalled by manufacturer Kidde TruSense Smoke Alarms due to defective components.
Some of the pulled-out units were Kidde Model Series 2040, 2050, and 2060, along with the 2070 Smoke and Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide alarm. Thus, it’s very important to know the manufacture date and read the labels properly.
Meanwhile, you may change the battery and test if the smoke detector works back to normal. If not, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer for repair or replacement.
5. The device itself is already very old.
As mentioned earlier, most smoke detectors have 10-year batteries that are built-in into the system. And if your device has been with you for more than a decade, it definitely needs replacement. Older versions often have outdated parts that may no longer be suitable to work in modern times.
One of the visible signs of a very old smoke alarm is the changes in color. Smoke detectors that are turning yellow mean that they’ve been around for some time, probably more than 10 years. There are several factors that impact the alteration of color, including dust accumulation and constant usage.
Along with these influences, the composition of old smoke alarms also takes part in the changing of colors. Older versions, in particular, encompass a chemical element called bromine. This is a core determinant that acts as a flame retardant, ensuring the device alerts you in case of smoke.
And if this element is continuously used up, then there’s a tendency for the device to turn yellow. If this happens, it’s highly suggested by the experts to invest in more advanced smoke detectors to guarantee the safety of your well-being and your loved ones.
Step-by-step guide on installing a new smoke detector battery
The best time to change your batteries is during the time when you also change the clock during fall in preparation for spring. This is backed up by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to create a more efficient reminder to homeowners.
Step1. Prepare the replacement battery.
When you change a battery, it’s crucial to know what kind of battery your smoke detector uses. Most smoke alarms utilize 9-volt batteries to run the device. However, there are some that capitalize on higher or lower-volt batteries, hence the importance of reading the manufacturer’s instructions.
Step2. Gather the tools in advance.
Some of the key tools that you need when changing batteries include a drill, screwdriver, and pencil. And since smoke detectors are commonly positioned on the ceiling or high walls, then you should also need a ladder to open the device.
Step3. Uninstall the smoke detector carefully.
Using the appropriate tools, remove the smoke detector from its position. Smoke detectors are typically stationed using a mounting bracket, so you need to remove them carefully. Then, gently pull the plastic lock to open the battery compartment.
Step4. Remove the old battery and install the new one.
Make sure that the new battery follows the same polarity that is set in the battery drawer. A key indication is a negative side, which comes with a bigger opening. Therefore, it only fits one way unless you force it.
Step5. Make sure to clean the smoke detector.
Before reinstalling the device, don’t forget to clean the ceiling and the smoke alarm itself. Remove traces of dust and cobwebs so the detector can effectively function.
Learning when and how to replace the battery for a smoke detector is downright beneficial. It saves you money and even effort from waiting for a technician. Aside from smoke detectors, you may also add fire extinguishers to keep your family safe from unforeseen accidents.