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   Articles | How-Tos | Ask the Expert   

Replace Smoke Detector

When is the last time you checked on your smoke detector? If it's been a few years, you might want to consider replacing the entire unit rather than trying to clean it.

Step 1:

Before you simply replace the unit, check on the current locations where you have detectors. Think of the value of your home and contents, you might want to pay for a quality unit.

Step 2:

As you start to remove the old unit (Fig. 1), open the hinged cover to expose the screws. Loosen the screws (Fig. 2) and hopefully the holes will line up with the new unit. If not, you need a new hole (Fig. 3).

Step 3:

The screw anchors need a hole to be drilled first (Fig. 4). Do not try to hammer the plastic anchor into the drywall as you will only damage it. Typically a 3/16 inch bit will be required and the anchor can be inserted (Fig. 5). Tighten the screw to within 1/8 inch (Fig. 6). The previous unit may have been only installed without proper anchors (Fig. 7). Don't skip the anchors, I've had two units come down in the night trying to use just a pan head screw (Fig. 8).

Step 4:

Don't forget to install the battery and test it. It is good idea to add a date label (Fig. 9) when you install the new unit. This way you'll know if it has been 5 or even 10 years since you or the former owner replaced the unit.

Step 5:

Make it an annual habit to replace the battery on your new unit (Fig. 10). New Year's Day is a great time to do this.

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Fig. 1


Fig. 2


Fig. 3


Fig. 4


Fig. 5


Fig. 6


Fig. 7


Fig. 8


Fig. 9


Fig. 10



 


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