Smoke Alarms

It is the law in Ontario to have working smoke alarms in your home. Smoke alarms can be battery operated or directly connected to a building’s electrical system. You’ll know your smoke alarm is working if the power light is on. Failure to comply with the Ontario Fire Code may result in a fine of $235.

Smoke alarms do wear out. If you think your alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them with new ones.

  • the low battery warning beeps, replace the battery immediately.
  • Dust can clog a smoke alarm. Carefully vacuum the inside of a battery powered unit using the soft bristle brush.
  • If electrically connected, shut off the power and vacuum the outside vents only. Restore power and test the unit when finished.
  • NEVER remove the battery for use in other devices.

It's the easiest test you will ever take. Check out this video put together by the Burlington Fire Department.

Smoke alarm installation and maintenance

  • Install alarms next to any sleeping area
  • Install alarms on every level of the home
  • Homeowners must provide and install working smoke alarms for tenants
  • Remember to keep smoke alarms well maintained at all times

Maintain your smoke alarm through

  • Periodic testing
  • Gentle vacuuming every six months with a soft bristle brush attachment
  • Replacing the battery once a year

Battery operated alarms:

  • Replace your battery once a year and/or if your alarm is sounding its low battery warning
  • Ensure you use the proper battery for your alarm (marked inside alarm)

If you experience repeated nuisance alarms (false alarms) consider:

  • Installing smoke alarms with a pause feature
  • Moving the alarm
  • Trying alternative alarm

Never remove the battery or disconnect the power source!

There is a good reason why the sound of the alarm is loud and persistent: it is intended to get your attention when there is a fire.

Here are a few simple steps that could eliminate some nuisance alarms:

  • Keep ovens and stovetop burners clean.
  • Clean out crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
  • Use the fan on the range hood when cooking to help remove steam and combustion particles from the air.

Working smoke alarms save lives: test yours every month.

Return to the Fire Safety and Guidelines page.