Smoke Detector Frequently Asked Questions

Why should my home have smoke detectors?

Smoke detectors are the single most important means of preventing fire fatalities in homes by providing an early warning signal – so you and your family can escape to safety.

Where should smoke detectors be installed?

Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement. For extra safety, install smoke detectors both inside and outside sleeping areas. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke detectors at the proper level will provided you with the earliest warning possible.

Are smoke detectors difficult to install?

No. In most cases all you will need is a screwdriver. Be sure to follow the directions from the manufacturer because each brand is different. If you are unable or not sure what to do, contact the Bedford Fire Department at 817-952-2500 and firefighters will be sent to your home to install the detectors.

How do I keep my smoke detector working?

Smoke detectors are easy to maintain. Check and replace the battery, if needed when you change your clock during Daylight Savings Time in the Fall and Spring. Some smoke detectors on the market now come with a ten-year lithium battery. This type of smoke detector is designed to be replaced as a whole unit, thus avoiding the need for battery replacement.

If your smoke detector starts making a “chirping” noise, replace the batteries and retest it. Test your smoke detectors at least once a month. Pushing the test button on the front of the smoke detector for a few seconds easily does this.

What if the detector goes off while I’m cooking?

Your smoke detector is doing its job. Do not disable your smoke detector by removing the battery if it alarms due to cooking or other non-fire causes. Clear the air by waving a towel near the detector, leave the battery in place. The smoke detector may have to be moved to a new location. Call the Bedford Fire Department for assistance.

How long will my smoke detector last?

Smoke detectors will last about eight to ten years after the manufacturer date. This date is usually found on the back of the smoke detector or inside near the battery. You may also write the purchase date on the unit with a marker as a reminder. Like most electrical devices, smoke detectors wear out.

What should I do if I have a “hard wired” smoke detector?

Smoke detectors are considered to be “hard wired” of they are connected to the household electrical system. These detectors may or may not have battery backup. These types of smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month. Notify your Home Security Monitoring Service before testing if your “hard wired” smoke detector is connected to your home security system.

If a “hard wired” smoke detector needs to be replaced, homeowners should contact a licensed electrician as the Bedford Fire Department does not handle changing out these types of detectors.