How do I maintain my smoke alarms?
The Fire & Rescue NSW recommends:
All of your smoke alarms should be tested at least every month to ensure that the battery and the alarm sounder are working.
Every six months
Every six months you should clean your smoke alarm with your vacuum cleaner. This will remove any particles that will hinder smoke alarm performance. If you are using a 9V lead battery you should consider changing it twice a year.
Once a year
If your smoke alarm has a removable alkaline battery, you should replace the battery once a year. If your smoke alarm uses a lithium battery it will not need replacing annually as the battery is inbuilt into the alarm and the entire unit will need replacing every ten years.
Every ten years
Replace your smoke alarm with a new unit every ten years. Smoke alarms do not last forever, the sensitivity in all smoke alarms will reduce over time. All types of smoke alrms should be removed, replaced and disposed of every ten years. To assist in identifying the age of smoke alarms the AS3786 standard requires a serial number or batch number (Clause4.1(c)). This is usually done as a batch number i.e. 2406 may mean that the product was manufactured in the 24th week of 2006. Some manufacturers place the date of manufacture on the smoke alarm and some now place the expiry date on the smoke alarm. The batch numbers or dates are usually on the base of the smoke alarm near the battery compartment.
How to dispose of your smoke alarm
For ionisation alarms, in accordance with the recommendations of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, ionisation smoke alarms in quantities less than ten may be disposed of in domestic waste. Quantities of ten or more ionisation smoke alarms shall be treated as radioactive waste and disposed of in accordance with local regulations.
Photo-electric smoke alarms in any quantity may be disposed of in domestic waste.
If you have less than ten ionisation smoke alarms to dispose of you may dispose of them in your domestic waste. If you have ten or more you should contact your local council. This is due to the small amount of radioactive material used in ionisation alarms.