Keeping your smoke alarm powered with fresh batteries is crucial for protecting your home and your family. Removing the battery from a smoke alarm, also called a smoke detector, will not set off the unit's alarm, but there may be a brief sound of the alarm fading into silence as the power is exhausted in the unit.
It's important to remember that removing the battery completely disables a battery-powered unit, and it disables the battery backup in a hardwired alarm. Because of this, there is really only one reason for you to ever remove the battery and that is to replace it with a fresh one.
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Removing the battery from your smoke alarm won't set it off, but some alarms make a brief "dying alarm" sound when you first take out the battery.
How Batteries Power a Smoke Detector
Smoke alarms draw power in either one of two ways. Some are battery-powered, with either a 9-volt battery or a 10-year lithium battery. Without the battery, neither of these units has the power to set off the alarm.
Other smoke detectors are hardwired, meaning they tap into and draw their power from the home or building's electricity. Hardwired alarms often have a battery backup just in case the electrical power goes out. If you take the battery out of one of these units and your power goes out, the alarm will fail to sound and warn you of the danger.
How to Fix a Beeping Smoke Detector
If a smoke alarm repeatedly sounds false alarms or intermittently beeps or chirps, you might be tempted to remove the battery to silence the noise. Instead of doing this, you should simply remove the cause of the alarm or move the unit itself to a different spot where smoke from cooking or steam from hot showers won't accidentally set it off. You could also open a window to allow in fresh air.
A smoke alarm will also chirp or be set off from dust or dead insects that collect inside the unit. Instead of removing the battery, try to clean and vacuum out the unit to see if it stops beeping. Chirping can also be a sign that the battery is dying and needs to be replaced. A fresh battery should solve the problem.
When to Replace the Battery in a Smoke Detector
The only time you should take out the batteries is when you're putting new ones in the alarm. Units that contain 9-volt batteries and backup batteries should get a fresh battery every six months. Many smoke alarm manufacturers and fire safety associations recommend changing the batteries on the same day you reset your clock in accordance with Daylight Savings Time. There is usually no need to replace a 10-year battery because the units themselves last only 10 years. You should install a replacement smoke alarm instead.
How to Replace a Battery Properly
Whenever you take the battery out of an alarm to replace it, immediately install the new battery before you have the chance to forget. Leaving the battery out of an alarm puts you in danger in case there is an actual fire. When you replace the battery, make sure it's securely in place or that the battery drawer is closed fully. Press the test button to make certain it is working. If your smoke alarm is chirping even after a battery change and a cleaning, replace the entire unit. It could be old or faulty, which also puts your family at risk if it doesn't go off when there's a fire.