The Importance of Smoke Detector Maintenance

Smoke detectors are an essential component of the safety of your home and its occupants. Here are some tips to help with regular maintenance of these devices.

Smoke detectors offer security and safety for you and your family at home. It is the lawn in Ontario to have working smoke alarms in your house. Once these devices are installed in your home, it is also vital to regularly test them so that you can ensure they will work in the case of a fire. After all, you want them to work when you need them the most!

Selecting Your Smoke Detector

Before you purchase new smoke detectors, there are a number of factors to consider. Photoelectric units are better for smoldering fires, such as electrical fires in walls. These devices are ideal for kitchens and bathrooms where these types of fires tend to occur.

Ionization units, in contrast, give the surrounding air an electrical charge and then measure whether the charge remains constant or if a fire consumes the oxygen in the air. These units are better suited to areas where fires get out of control, such as a basement or near a furnace.

Smoke detectors can also be battery operated or directly connected to a building’s electrical system. Smoke alarms do wear out, so consider replacing any devices which are more than 10 years old. For more information, you can read this important resource by the City of Oakville about Fire Safety and Smoke Alarms.

Smoke Detector Testing

A power light on your smoke detector should indicate that it is working.

You should regularly follow a few key steps to ensure that your smoke detectors are working properly:

  • Press the test button on the unit and wait for it to sound.
  • Light a candle and hold it 15 centimeters below the detector so the heated air will rise into the detector.
  • If the alarm doesn’t sound within 20 seconds, blow the candle and let the smoke rise.
  • If the alarm still doesn’t sound, open the detector again and clean the unit. Then, test the unit again.
  • If the detector still is not working, it should be replaced immediately.


You may also be alerted to a defective smoke alarm by a low battery warning beep.

Safety First!

It is possible that dust can clog your smoke alarm. Carefully vacuuming the inside of a battery powered unit with a soft bristle brush can help. If you have an electrically connected device, shut off the power first and vacuum the outside vents only. Restore the power and test the unit again when complete.

Replacing the batteries on your smoke detector is critical to their usefulness. NEVER remove the battery in your smoke detector for other uses. A great way to remember to change your smoke detectors’ batteries is to do so twice a year during Daylight Savings time.

When you set your clocks forward or back an hour, also change your smoke detectors’ batteries to keep your home and family safe!

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