Smoke and CO detectors are invaluable to your home’s security system and should maintain their function year-round. To ensure this, smoke and CO detectors require various degrees of maintenance and testing. Fortunately, maintaining your smoke and CO detectors isn’t difficult at all. The danger lies in simply forgetting about them. Hopefully this article will inspire our readers to be proactive in their maintenance. The experts at Salt Light & Electric have provided some essential steps to help keep your detectors properly functioning in your Central Texas home. Below are some easy instructions for keeping them working year-round!


The first step of maintaining your smoke and CO detectors is knowing the location of every single one in your home. Identify each smoke and CO detector and keep track of them as you perform maintenance.

According to the National Electric Code (NEC), smoke detectors are required to be in every bedroom and each floor of a home. At times, you’ll find more than the required amount, with smoke detectors being in hallways and the living room.

Carbon monoxide detectors follow similar NEC guidelines. These detectors must be located outside of each room, as well on every floor. Due to their required location, you commonly find smoke and CO detectors near each other, or at least in the same vicinity.

CO detectors tend to be labeled for easy identification, while smoke detectors usually have no label. There could be a chance where neither detector is labeled, making it difficult to differentiate. Fortunately, maintaining smoke and CO detectors follow a similar process for maintenance – aside from testing.


  • Smoke and CO detectors can be found in battery-operated and hardwired options. But even hardwired designs require batteries to act as a backup. Batteries should be replaced about once a year, or when the detectors begin to chirp consistently.
  • The average lifespan of a smoke or CO detector is about 10 years, and after will require a replacement.
  • Never paint or decorate any smoke or CO detector.
  • Check the inside of your detectors every month for any dust or debris build-up. It’s best to do this when you test them. Additionally, check the user manual for additional cleaning instructions.
  • Testing your smoke and CO detectors is important to ensure their function and should be done once a month. Since there are some small differences in testing, we have listed both smoke and CO detector testing instructions separately.

How to Test a Smoke Detector

Before testing smoke detectors, alert anyone in your home you’ll be performing this test, as the alarm is loud and can be startling. First, locate the test button on the button, and hold down the button. For a few seconds, the alarm will be silent, but after will sound the alarm. If no sound plays or is very weak, replace the batteries to resume function. For added testing, have a family member stand on the opposite side of the house and see if they can hear the alarm. If the alarm works, let go of the test button, and move on to the CO detectors.

How to Test a CO Detector

Much like smoke detectors, we recommend alerting your family before testing your CO detectors. To test them, find and hold down the test button until you hear two beeps. CO detectors also have a few second delay before producing sound. If the sound is weak or absent, change the batteries. Once you have heard two beeps, release the test button.

Maintaining your smoke and CO detectors should be a major priority when performing your home safety precautions, and by using our comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to retain electrical safety for your home. If you need an expert in smoke and CO detectors on standby, contact Salt Light & Electric today! Our smoke and CO detector services guarantee any repair, installation, or maintenance request is performed by Central Texas’s leading electrical experts. Give us a call at (512) 956-7842 to schedule an appointment and get started.