How to Change the Battery in a Smoke Detector

Before you change the battery in a smoke detector, you need to be conversant with its parts and functionalities so as not to misinterpret signs or sounds you get from your smart home device. This article will show you the concise steps on how you can change the battery in a smoke detector easily.

There are various models of smoke detectors, although, the most common model detectors used in many homes and apartments run by low-voltage electrical wiring with a battery backup. This type of smoke detector is known as the hardwired smoke detector. The hardwired units are the best choice for most homeowners.

These smoke detectors have internal processors that save error codes, and a weak battery chirp is one of the common error codes that may be maintained even after the old battery has been replaced. 

smoke alarm that won’t stop giving that chirping sound that can be very annoying. The worst-case scenario is that it could indicate that your alarm is not working properly, risking the lives of your family and even yourself. This post will show you how to stop smoke detectors that won’t stop chirping.

Efficient and functioning smoke detectors are very important in maintaining the safety of your home. You need to replace Smoke detectors every 10 years, and change the battery in a smoke detector every 6 months, making it twice a year. The process of changing and replacement only take just a few minutes and requires a screwdriver and some electric tape. Read on to learn how to change the battery in a smoke detector.Change the Battery in a Smoke Detector

Functions to look out for when buying a new Smoke Detector

The maximum life span of a smoke alarm according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is 10 years. In case you have a unit older than 10 years, then you need to urgently replace it. In addition, your smoke detector may need to be replaced if you can’t stop it from the continuous chirping sound or if the test button is not working.

In case you are ready to dispose of the old unit to replace it with a new one, do you need to know how to go about picking a new one? Check out the unique features and specifically look at four factors stated below:

The Sensor Type

Smoke detectors come with one of the following three types of sensors.

  • Photoelectric: This type of alarm detects fire by searching for visible fire particles that reflect light into a sensing chamber. It discovers smoldering, slow-burning fires with a great deal of smoke.
  • Ionization: This type of alarm makes use of a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates to detect invisible fire particles. As a result, it is very responsive to fast-burning, flaming fires with even less smoke.
  • Dual/Interconnected: The Dual-sensor alarms use both types of sensors; the photoelectric and ionization, for complete protection and safety.

Power Source

Smoke detectors can be powered in any of these two ways below:

  • Battery power: Many alarms run on batteries alone. This is quite common among smart smoke alarm devices.
  • Hardwired power: Other alarms are connected to a home’s electrical system either via direct wiring or through a wall plug-in. Although, these alarms come with backup batteries in case the home’s power fails.

Security Features

All fire alarms are invented to detect fires. However, some of them come with additional features, such as these:

  • Alarm strobe lights.
  • Vacuum-sealed, 10-years long-lasting batteries.
  • Carbon monoxide detection.
  • LED emergency lighting.

The Price/Cost

Depending on the type of smoke detector you want to buy, the prices vary in range. You can purchase the cheapest battery-operated alarms for about $10. While the most expensive models can cost as much as $65, they include some of the best smart home devices you can easily access on the market, like Google’s Nest Protect.

Normally, an average alarm with dual sensors costs about $25. The wired alarms tend to be more expensive, though. An electrician can help you with the installation process or you could simply purchase them as part of a larger home security system.Change the Battery in a Smoke Detector

How to Change the Battery in a Smoke Detector

As stated earlier, the most likely reason a smoke alarm gives a chirping sound is that it needs a new battery. To change the battery in a smoke detector is relatively a straightforward process. Follow the few short steps below:

  • Remove the battery’s cover. Some smoke detectors twist off, others pop off, while a few have screws.
  • Remove the old battery.
  • Ensure the battery’s positive and negative labels are by those on the device.
  • Install the new battery.
  • Finally, use the test button to ensure that the smoke detector is working again

That’s it. Now, you have been able to change the battery in a smoke detector without the help of an electrician. How wonderful!

How to Clear Dust from Smoke Detector

Do you know dust can also cause smoke detectors to chirp as well? Once dust gets on sensors, it can prevent them from working properly. It can also interfere with the device’s battery connection, so it’s a good idea to clean your smoke detector every six months. You can try any of these methods, they work well, but they work best when integrated:

  • Make use of a vacuum cleaner: Remove the faceplate from your smoke detector and use a soft brush attachment to remove dirt and dust. Be careful about it, do it gently!
  • Clean with a wipe: A wipe is very functional for cleaning the outside of the alarm unit and clearing dust from any vents in the outer casing region. Most commercial wipes will work, but you can easily make your own by using a cleansoft cloth and a mild detergent.
  • Make use of compressed air: Compressed air is also one handy tool for clearing the dust out of places a vacuum or wipe won’t reach. You can as well use it for quick monthly cleanings.Change the Battery in a Smoke Detector

Why does my smoke detector go off when I install a new battery or turn on the AC power?

It is normal for the smoke detector to go off and make a sound for about 5 to 10 seconds once you install a new battery or they are powered up. However, if the continues to go off and there is no smoke present, the following could be the cause:

  • Insufficient battery power, try using another battery.
  • Issues with voltage or not enough electrical power (brownout) may cause a persistent weak sounding alarm.
  • For hardwired smoke detectors, temporarily disconnect power at the service panel till the brownout is over.
  • Incompatible warning device. If an incompatible alarm or secondary device is connected to a series of hardwired smoke detectors it could cause the system to go off mistakenly.

How to Reset a Smoke Detector

Once you have been able to replace a smoke alarm’s battery, an unused charge may remain in the device. This charge can cause periodic chirping sounds. You might need to reset the smoke detector in such cases, this is a process that drains this charge. The steps however differ for battery-operated and wired smoke detectors.

Battery-Operated Smoke Detector

To reset a battery-operated smoke detector involves just three steps, follow the steps below:

  • Remove the battery.
  • Tap the test button and hold it for about 15 seconds.
  • Re-install or replace the old battery.
  • That’s it! Very simple!

Wired Smoke Detector

Wired devices make use of your home’s electrical power. Although, most of them have backup batteries that need to be replaced from time to time. To do this, follow the steps below:

  • Turn off your home’s main power breaker.
  • Remove the alarm unit’s power cable.
  • Take the alarm down.
  • Remove the backup battery.
  • Hold the test button for about 15 seconds to drain any residual charge.
  • Install or replace the backup battery again.
  • Connect the alarm to the power cable again.
  • Now, replace the alarm.
  • Switch your home’s main power breaker back on.
  • That’s all! You can now successfully change the battery in a smoke detector.Change the Battery in a Smoke Detector

When the Smoke Detector Keeps Chirping, Try These Fixes!

In case the backup battery needs a replacement, note that only the affected unit will chirp. All you need to do is follow the instruction below if your smoke detector keeps chirping despite resetting it:

  • Remove and replace the battery except it is a smoke detector with a sealed 10-year battery, in this case, you will have to replace the complete unit.
  • It’s better to replace all the backup batteries at the same time since they are likely to start malfunctioning one by one and usually at the most inconvenient times.

However, if power has just been restored after a storm, your smoke detector’s microprocessor may not have cleared.

  • Ensure you check the breaker box first; in case the circuit breaker tripped, it may be as simple as flipping it back on.
  • Try holding down the “test” or “reset” button on the smoke detector for about 15 to 20 seconds or until the alarm sounds.
  • Release the button and once the chirping stops, it means the problem has been solved!

But, in case the chirping doesn’t stop, then you might have to manually clear the processor. You can do this by following the steps below:

  • Switch off the power at the main breaker box before removing the smoke alarm from the wiring harness.
  • Disconnect the battery and tap the reset button for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Now, install the battery and the smoke detector again before switching the power back on.
  • That’s it! This should stop the smoke detector from giving the chirping sound.

I hope this article has helped you to change the battery in a smoke detector without any hassle. Feel free to drop your comment in the section below. Thanks for reading thus far!


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