How to Detect a Low Battery on a Smoke Alarm

Smoke alarms give us some peace of mind.

Change your smoke detector's batteries every six months.Change your smoke detector's batteries every six months.
When installed properly and kept in good working order, a smoke alarm can warn you of the presence of a fire in your home. Smoke alarms are especially useful at night when you may be unaware of a fire. They work by detecting traces of gas or smoke particles in the air. Smoke alarms may be electric with backup batteries or may be operated solely by batteries. Alarms should be tested regularly to make sure they are operational and that the batteries are still functioning.

Test your alarm every month.

Push the test button on the alarm using a long pole or long-handled broom. If the alarm goes off, the alarm is working and the battery is still functioning.

Replace the battery if the alarm does not sound. Be sure that the battery snaps completely into position .

Push the test button again. If the alarm does not sound at this time, the alarm is defective and should be replaced.

Change batteries in your smoke alarms every six months. Change the batteries when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings time in the fall and spring as an easy reminder.

Change batteries when your alarm "chirps" or beeps. This is the built-in warning of a low battery in smoke alarms.

Replace the smoke alarm after 10 years. The effectiveness of smoke alarms decreases after that length of time.

Things You Will Need

  • Smoke alarm
  • Long pole
  • Batteries


  • Clean smoke alarms regularly to prevent vents from becoming clogged with dust or dirt. Follow manufacturer's instructions for cleaning.
  • Do not paint over a smoke alarm, This will clog vents.
  • Cover the smoke alarm with a plastic bag if you are performing work that creates a lot of dust. Remove the covering when you are finished with the work.

About the Author

Michele Norfleet is a freelance writer who writes on travel, home and garden and education topics. She has coauthored a handbook for teachers on school-wide discipline and has contributed tips for special-needs students in the basal curriculum for RCL Benziger. Norfleet holds a master's degree from Southern Illinois University and has experience as a special-needs teacher and speech pathologist.