How to Change a Smoke Alarm Battery to Stop the Beeping

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up


Smoke detectors can either be battery-powered or wired into the electrical system. However, nearly all smoke detectors, even for those wired directly into a home's electrical system, provide a backup battery. So, it's crucial to understand how to change the smoke alarm battery.

Fortunately, both electric-powered and battery-operated smoke detectors will have a chirping or beeping sound when the battery is low. Unlike fire alarms, this alarm is a beep and not a constant blast. However, it can sometimes be strenuous to know which smoke detector is beeping.

So, it only makes sense to know how often you need to replace batteries in a smoke detector.

How Often to Replace a Smoke Detector Battery

Although many detectors will beep to indicate that the batteries need to replace, that's not the best way of ensuring you are protected from potential fires. US fire administration recommends checking all smoke, fire, and monoxide alarms once a month where you can just push the test available on the device.

Most smoke detectors' batteries will require replacement semi-annually. You need to replace a detector battery two times a year, at a convenient time and with changes evenly spaced. However, if you live somewhere which uses daylight savings time, then you should replace the battery again when you switch back.

How to Change Detector Battery

Smoke detector battery replacement varies depending on the type. So, here is how you can replace smoke detector batteries with a battery-powered model.

1. Set Your Smoke Detector to Test Mode

You should ensure your system is either on hold, test, or disregard before doing anything. You can adjust the settings using your mobile or by calling the company's monitoring center. Some companies will offer an online customer portal that you can use to place your system on test mode.

However, if your smoke detectors are hard-wired, you can turn off the main power to ensure you don't get shocked before replacing the battery backup.

2. Remove the Detector From the Mounting Plate

Removing the detector

Gently unclip the body of the detector from the base in a slight twisting motion in the direction of the arrow on the plate. In there, you will come across three main parts, including a loud horn, sensing chamber, a battery and sometimes a house voltage power source.

3. Remove Old Batteries

Once you have dismounted the detector, open the battery compartment and remove the old battery from the device. Wait for about 20 seconds before proceeding to the next step to ensure a proper power-down sequence.

4. Replace the Battery

Insert your new batteries, ensuring the negative and positive connections are well aligned in the battery compartment. If your smoke detector uses a 9-volt battery, then you should use a brand new lithium 9-volt battery as a replacement.

5. Reinstall the Detector on Its Base

Close the battery compartment cover and put it back to its base. This time, you need to turn it clockwise until the marks align properly. Doing this will automatically power your detector, which is shown by a green LED light blinking after every 12 seconds.

6. Test the Alarm

To ensure your batteries are working properly, push the test button before you're done reinstalling the device. If the test alarm on the smoke detector doesn't make a sound, flip the cover open and check your batteries again. However, if that doesn't sort out the issue, then you may need to replace the entire unit.

7. Ensure Your Security is Back On

Once the smoke detector batteries are working correctly, ensure the system is back online. Adjust the setting using your mobile application, calling the company's monitoring center, or visiting the online customer portal.

Tips For Changing A Smoke Detector Battery

As already mentioned, there are different ways to how the smoke alarm batteries are fitted into the devices. The main aim of these configurations is to ensure a safe condition by ensuring the detectors are not installed without a battery, and the batteries are fitted properly.

So, when there is a red lever which is a battery reminder finger, you need to press the finger downward then press the battery on top when the battery compartment is empty. Finally, replace the door.

Whenever there is a ribbon, drape it across the empty battery compartment, and the battery should be replaced. This makes it easy to remove the battery and replace it again. However, remember to tuck the ribbon into the compartment and replace the door.

On the other hand, whenever there is a front load door found at the bottom of the detector, you can change the battery without having to remove the mounting bracket. Open the door using your fingernail or butter knife. However, some doors may require you to slide them to the side before you swing them open.

Lastly, when there is a side door, open it and ensure it is extended to its full length. Check for the positive and negative markings on the detectors and ensure the batteries match the battery's markings. Then finally, you slide the door back in place.

Smoke Detector Safety Tips

Since smoke detectors are mostly installed to keep you and your loved ones safe from fire, there are some tips you should consider to ensure your devices are up to date and are working properly. Here are some of them;

  • Test your alarms every month, including those in the bedrooms, hallways, kitchen, etc. Making it a routine to check all the alarms.
  • Check the expiration date at the back of the device. Most often than not, detectors are designed to last ten years from the manufacture date.
  • Connect your smartphone, tablet and computer to ensure the fire alarms are sent directly to you in case of an emergency.
  • Consider getting detectors that sync with your professional security to ensure the system remains monitored 24/7.
  • Come up with a fire escape plan when you need to make an emergency exit.
  • Schedule a system inspection once every two years to ensure it is working well.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Smoke Detectors

1. How do I stop my smoke detector from chirping or beeping?

Resetting the alarm can help stop the smoke detector from beeping. So, here are several steps you need to follow;

  1. Turn off the power at the circuit breaker
  2. Remove the alarm from the mounting base
  3. Remove the batteries
  4. Press and hold the test button for about 15 seconds.
  5. Reconnect the power, then reinstall the batteries.

2. Can you change the fire alarm battery yourself?

Yes. You can always change the smoke detector yourself. However, you should be aware of the safety measures.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.