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The Home Depot

Smoke Alarm Inspection Checklist

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Home Inspection > Smoke Alarm Inspection Checklist
Smoke Alarm Inspection Checklist

Your smoke alarm might be the most important safety element in your home. In the event of a fire, your smoke alarm could be the one thing that determines whether you live or die. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your smoke alarms work.


According to the United States Fire Administration, every year about 3,500 people die in home fires. The group says that most of these deaths occur in a home that doesn’t have a working smoke alarm.


You’ve already taken the important (and required) step of putting smoke alarms in your house. The next step is making sure they work. Learn how to do that with this smoke alarm inspection guide.

  1. 1.Importance of a Smoke Alarm Inspection

    In the event of a fire, your smoke alarm could be the one thing that determines whether you live or die.

    It’s important to inspect your smoke alarm because it helps keep you safe – but it can’t do that if it’s not working. It’s easy to let your smoke alarm fade into the background and forget about it. Without periodic inspections, you won’t know if it has stopped working or malfunctioned in some way. You don’t want to learn that your smoke alarm is broken as you are running out the door of a burning home.

  2. 2.How to Inspect your Smoke Alarm

    There are three basic kinds of smoke alarms: smoke alarms powered by a 9-volt battery, those powered by a 10-year lithium battery, and those that are hardwired into the home’s electrical system. The intricacies of each smoke alarm will vary depending on the company you bought yours from, but there are a few guidelines that you can follow when inspecting yours. If you have a 9-volt battery smoke alarm, test the alarm monthly, replace the batteries once a year and replace the entire unit every 8-10 years. If you have a 10-year lithium battery unit, test the alarm monthly. You shouldn't attempt to replace the battery in these kinds of alarms, so replace it with a new one when the time comes. If your unit is hardwired, test the alarm monthly, replace the backup battery once a year and replace the entire unit every 8-10 years.

  4. 3.What to do if you Discover Problems with your Smoke Alarm

    If you notice any problems with your smoke alarm, address them right away. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the manufacturers’ information that came with your smoke alarm – it will best tell you how to care for the alarm. If your alarms are part of a system that was installed into your home, don’t hesitate to call the installers if you notice anything out of the ordinary. If you need a new smoke alarm, many local fire departments offer them for very low prices – or even for free. Don’t ever choose to go without an alarm – not even for a day. Use Pro Referral to find a professional who will help you install the smoke alarms properly.


    Remember, your smoke alarm is very important, so you should inspect it often to make sure it’s working the way it should. For even more information, go to the USFA. They have all the information you’ll need about caring for, installing and maintaining your smoke alarms. Take a look – you’ll be glad you did!

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