Looking after smoke alarms

Smoke alarms have been installed in your home for your safety. It is essential to look after them to ensure they always work the way they should.

In department-owned social housing, a smoke alarm information sticker is located inside your cupboard door (usually the linen cupboard) and explains how to test and clean your smoke alarm.

Battery replacement

You don’t need to replace the battery in your smoke alarms.

Most smoke alarms are hardwired into your power supply. They also have a back-up lithium battery with a 10-year lifespan.

The batteries are charged through the power supply, so the alarm will sound if there’s a fire, even if you lose power.

Some smoke alarms are battery powered. The battery in these alarms can’t be removed and will power the alarm for 10 years.

Testing your smoke alarm

You should test your smoke alarms once a month to make sure they’re working.

To test your smoke alarms:

  1. Check that the light on the cover flashes. It should flash at least once every 60 seconds.
  2. Press and hold the ‘test’ button on the face of the smoke alarm until the alarm sounds, and then release it. The other alarms in your home should also sound as they are interconnected.
  3. The smoke alarm will stop sounding when the ‘test’ button is released. The alarm will then ‘chirp’ at regular intervals until the battery has recharged again.
  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to test each smoke alarm in the property.

If you press the ‘test’ button and it doesn’t make a beeping sound or activate all the alarms in the property, call your maintenance number.

The contact details are:

Cleaning your smoke alarm

Clean your smoke alarms each month to remove dust, insects and cobwebs.

Keep your smoke alarm working

To make sure your alarm always works well, don’t:

  • tamper with or open your alarm, as this could cause an electrical shock
  • try to remove or replace batteries in your alarm
  • allow paint, water or dust to contaminate your alarm
  • spray aerosols or use solvents near your alarm.

Problems with smoke alarms

Call your maintenance number if your smoke alarm isn’t working properly or you have concerns about looking after your smoke alarms.

The contact details are:

Read about what to do if your smoke alarm is going off or is chirping.

New smoke alarms installed 2017-2021

We installed new smoke alarms in all government-owned, social housing properties across 2017-2021. This was to comply with changes to smoke alarm laws requiring interconnected photoelectric alarms installed in all bedrooms, and in the path of escape (e.g. hallway/living area).

More information