A good working smoke alarm is essential to provide the vital time needed to escape a fire and prevent loss of life or extensive damage to the property. This blog provides some useful tips and recommendations on maintaining smoke alarms, so that they remain as effective as possible and act as a first defence to helping save lives.

Smoke alarms in general require minimal maintenance. Follow the points below to ensure effective operation and prevent false or nuisance alarm activation:

  • Keep the casing and vents of the alarm clear of dust, pet hairs or other debris. To do this, alarms should be cleaned regularly following the manufacturer’s instructions by using a damp cloth or the soft brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner to clean the vents and sensor.

  • Ensure the alarms are not covered or obstructed by furniture or curtains.

  • Do not paint the alarm casing during redecoration or renovation. This may impact its ability to detect the hazard.

  • Be careful to avoid accidental damage of the alarm, especially when moving large items or furniture.

  • Replace the battery as soon as notified.

  • Replace the alarm when it reaches the end of its service life.

Testing smoke alarms

It is recommended that householders test smoke alarms at least once a month by pressing the test button.

For battery operated alarms, if the alarm does not sound when this test is carried out, the battery must be replaced and then retested.

Our 10-year lithium-sealed battery alarms feature an end of life notification which sounds when the battery needs to be replaced and this should be done as soon as possible. The danger of not doing this or leaving this job ‘for another day’ is if there is a fire and the battery is very low, the alarm will stop sounding once the battery is drained, which means there may not be enough time to alert the occupants of a fire before the alarm stops sounding.

Hard-wired, mains-powered smoke alarms should be checked and should be replaced if the test function does not work. Regardless of whether a smoke alarm is a battery operated alarm or hard-wired, alarms do not last forever so they must be replaced at least every 7-10 years, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Landlords of private rental properties are legally required to ensure their rental accommodation smoke alarms are tested before any new tenancy and must repair and replace alarms if a tenant informs them that they are faulty.


Helping you to protect your home

At Kidde, we work to help keep people and property safe from fire and related hazards. Most fires in the home can be avoided and installing smoke alarms is the best way to protect your property and prevent tragedies. If you need advice or help on any of our range of smoke, heat or carbon monoxide alarms, our technical teams can help advise to make sure you have the right equipment in all areas of your home.