The largest percentage of fire deaths in the home occur at night when you are sleeping. Working smoke alarms provide an early warning and time to escape.

You need to replace your smoke alarms after 10 years

Regardless of the power source (wired in or battery), after 10 years the sensing technology inside the alarm may no longer be reliable in sensing of smoke or fire. You need to replace your smoke alarms every 10 years.

Not sure of the age of your alarms? Check the expiry date sticker usually found on the side of the alarm or the date of manufacture listed on the backside of the alarm.

It's the law

Every home must have working smoke alarms on every level and outside all sleeping areas, newly built homes will also be required to have one in each bedroom.

Buying the right alarm

There are several types of smoke alarms with different features. Alarms can be electrically connected, battery powered or a combination of both. A pause or hush feature that temporarily silences nuisance alarms is a feature on many.

Diagram showing placement of detectors in detached residences and townhomes

Where to install smoke alarms

Install smoke alarms on the ceiling because smoke rises. If that is not an option, place high on the wall in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Avoid placing close to bathrooms, heating appliances or close to windows and ceiling fans. For added protection, install additional alarms inside the bedrooms.

Smoke alarm safety checklist

  • Test smoke alarms monthly
  • Change the batteries at least once a year
  • Gently vacuum with a soft brush at least once a year
  • Replace smoke alarms when they exceed the manufacturer's recommended lifecycle, which is generally 10 years. However, replace alarms sooner if they are damaged, painted or malfunctioning.

Safety is everyone's responsibility:


As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to install and maintain smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.

Property owners:

As a property owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your rental properties comply with this law.


If you are a tenant of a rental property and do not have the required number of smoke alarms, contact the property owner immediately. It is against the law for tenants to remove the batteries or tamper with the smoke alarms in any way.

Alarms for the hearing impaired

Smoke alarms that employ high decibel alarms and strobe lights are available for the deaf or hard-of-hearing. Visit the Canadian Hearing Society's website for more information.