How To Change a Smoke Alarm Battery On a High Ceiling

How To Change a Smoke Alarm Battery On a High Ceiling

Smoke alarms are perhaps one of the most fundamental life-safety devices that operate within the home, and ensuring that its performance remains at an optimal level is vital to the safety of you and your loved ones. However, if you find yourself trying to change a smoke alarm battery on a high ceiling, you might be a little bit nervous. After all, the most routine maintenance duty you can perform is changing the batteries. This should be almost as second nature as changing the oil in your car or cleaning the lint out of your dryer.

It is recommended that you change out your smoke alarm batteries every time daylight savings rolls around; an easy way to remember is changing your clocks means changing your batteries. The average ceiling is about eight to ten feet tall, so changing batteries out in smoke alarms at those heights is a relatively simple task. However, what about those smoke alarms mounted way up high? How do you change a smoke alarm battery on high ceilings?

Do You Have to Turn Off Power to Change Smoke Alarm?

Change a Smoke Alarm Battery On a High Ceiling

To avoid the risk of electrical shock, it is wise to cut power to your smoke alarm before conducting any work on it. You can turn off the circuit in your home’s electrical panel. In many cases, when smoke alarms are hard-wired into a home, they are placed on a dedicated circuit to ensure they work in tandem with each other. Remember, it is always best to heed caution when working with any level of electricity—better safe than sorry.

How Do I Change a Smoke Alarm On a High Ceiling?

Changing a smoke alarm on a high ceiling is a relatively easy task, as long as you’re well prepared. Before getting started, you will need to procure yourself a high ceiling ladder and some batteries to tackle this task.

To change smoke alarm battery on high ceiling, follow these simple steps:

  1. Disconnect the smoke alarm from its power source in your home’s electrical panel.
  2. Get yourself safely up the ladder and remove the smoke alarm from its mounting bracket. Subsequently, you will want to unplug it from the electrical source.
  3. Replace the battery in the device.
  4. To ensure it’s working properly, hold down the test button for approximately ten to fifteen seconds and wait for the beep indicating that it is ready to operate.
  5. Plug the device back into the electric source and return it to the mounting bracket securely. When everything looks good, restore power at the electric panel.

Note: It may take a few seconds for the alarm to sound its test beeping.

Basic Smoke Alarm Maintenance

Before you attempt to reach the smoke alarm way up in the stratosphere of your home, let’s take a look at basic smoke alarm maintenance and get the scoop on some frequently asked questions regarding smooth operation.

What Kind of Batteries Do Smoke Detectors Take?

The first step you need to take to change a smoke alarm battery on a high ceiling is knowing what kind of battery you should bring up there with you. Typically, 9V batteries have been the battery of choice for many years and are still used in several models.

However, nowadays, you may more frequently run into smoke alarms that run on two or three AA batteries. The primary reason for this is that AA batteries have about three times more energy capacity than a 9V battery. If you are unsure what battery your specific smoke alarm takes, bring both 9V and AA batteries up the high ceiling ladder with you and make a note for the next changeout.

In some instances, local or state laws and regulations require the use of 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms. It is wise to check your local and state smoke alarm laws to uncover any impact this may have on your personal situation. Ten-year smoke alarms perform on lithium batteries that are formulated to last throughout the entire life of the alarm.

How to Know When to Change a Smoke Alarm Battery

There are a few key indicators that let you know smoke alarm batteries require attention. First of all, If your smoke alarms use regular batteries, make sure to swap in fresh batteries at least once a year. Still, the general rule of thumb is to install fresh batteries every time daylight savings rolls around. Another way to tell that attention is needed is if you start to notice a chirping noise coming from the alarm. That’s the smoke alarm’s built-in indicator letting you know that it’s time to change batteries. You should also take note of the smoke alarm’s manufacture date. Smoke alarms typically last for about ten years before requiring the replacement of the entire unit.

Will The Fire Department Change Your Smoke Alarm Batteries?

Change a Smoke Alarm Battery On a High Ceiling

The answer here depends on your location. However, it’s a safe bet that your local fire department will be more than happy to come out to your home and change the batteries—they would far rather visit you to change smoke alarm batteries than visit you as your home burns down.

This likely applies even when you need to change a smoke alarm battery on a high ceiling. It is also a solid bet that while they are there, you will end up with a free inspection on all the smoke alarms throughout your home. Try calling your local fire department on their non-emergency phone number and see if you can schedule a visit. Who knows—they may even roll out to your home all geared up in their big and flashy, red truck.

How Do You Get a Smoke Alarm to Stop Chirping Without a Battery?

A smoke alarm that does not use a battery as its primary source of power is generally hard-wired directly into your home’s electrical system. If your hardwired unit begins to chirp with the lack of a battery present, it’s almost always due to the device’s backup battery becoming activated.

It’s important to note that a backup battery is only available with a hardwired device, so if the smoke alarm is battery-only, the chirping is most likely being sourced from another area of the home. If your device is fully battery-operated and continues to chirp even when no battery is introduced, ensure that the battery drawer is completely closed and secured.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, if you follow a few simple steps, learning how to change smoke alarm batteries in a high ceiling is a relatively easy process as long as you’re prepared. While you have your tallest ladder out, you might want to consider cleaning your high ceiling chandelier as well.