Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home is one of the most important steps you can take towards keeping you and your family safe. Making sure that they are fitted correctly and regularly maintained and tested will ensure that they work as effectively as possible.
To understand why and where you should fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home, and to discover helpful fire safety tips, read our guide.
B&Q has a comprehensive range of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as other fire safety products suitable for your home. Shop the range
Tools & materials required
How to install a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector
Most wireless smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are attached securely to the wall or ceiling using screws or adhesive strips. If fitting an alarm to the ceiling, or near a staircase, take extra care and be sure to use the correct type of ladder for the task. Consider wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes from any dust and debris as you drill the required holes.
The following instructions will help you to install a screw fitted smoke or carbon monoxide alarm.
- Establish where you want to place your alarm.
To understand the best place to locate your alarms, read our helpful guide
Remove the backing plate or bracket from the alarm. Hold this up to the location you have chosen, and mark the screw holes onto the ceiling using a pencil
With a drill bit of the correct size for the screw and wall plugs you will be using, drill holes in each of the locations marked. Insert the wall plugs
Fit the backing plate or bracket - use a screwdriver to fix this in place using the screws provided
Install the battery and remove any protective wrapper around this. Take care, as you may sound off the alarm as you do this
Fit the alarm to the backing plate. Once complete, press the 'test' button on your alarm to ensure that it is working correctly. The LED light on the front of the smoke alarm should flash every 40 seconds to show that the alarm is active
How to test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector
It is imperative that you test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors once a week - less often than this and you will risk not discovering a broken alarm for too long.
- They're easy to check; simply press the test button that is visible on the unit
- The unit will emit a loud alarm for approximately five seconds and then stop automatically
- There is an LED light that will also flash during the audible signal
- If your alarm does not sound or flash, this is a sign that the batteries need to be changed. You should do this immediately
If your smoke alarm goes off without warning
This could be a sign that smoke and/or fire is present - always check there is no danger before silencing. Never ignore an alarm.
If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off without warning
This could be a sign that high levels of carbon monoxide are present.
- Switch off gas-fuelled appliances (boiler, cooker, gas fire) and open doors and windows in the room to ventilate. Do not sleep in the room
- Call the Gas Emergency Freephone Number 0800 111 999
- Visit your doctor or Accident and Emergency urgently and tell then you believe you have symptoms related to carbon monoxide. Request a breath or blood test
Worried that you won't remember?
Set a reminder on your phone or add it to your calendar - this way you shouldn't forget.
How to maintain your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
Although the smoke alarms are relatively maintenance-free, it’s still important to follow a few simple steps to ensure they are working properly;
- Test your alarm weekly
- Change the batteries yearly - and test the alarm after fitting these
- Replace the batteries immediately if you hear the low battery warning - a low, beeping tone
- Always change all the batteries in the alarm - when you update them annually, or if the low battery warning sounds
- Clean your smoke alarm every few months, using a slightly damp cloth or the brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner. This will help to keep vents and sensors clear
- Do not open the case/unit as this may damage the parts inside
Important: The alarm may sound as you are cleaning it as you could knock the sensor. To be sure, check for smoke or fire, then silence when you’re sure it was accidental.
Do not use solvents or cleaners on your alarms as they may cause damage to the sensor or circuitry. Equally do not paint the alarm as this may block the openings and prevent smoke or carbon monoxide from entering the sensor.
Fire safety tips
To find fire safety tips, including advice on creating an escape plan for your home, read our helpful guide.
Remember that it is always better to be safe, and if in doubt - get out, stay out and call 999.