How To Reset Smoke Detector? – Troubleshooting Guide

The steps to reset your smoke alarm can vary based on the type. For example, if you have a battery-powered smoke detector, it is a little easier to rest compared to an electric smoke detector. This is because electric smoke detectors tend to have a backup battery. 

Here’s how to reset a smoke detector: 

  1. Turn off the main circuit breaker.
  2. Remove the circuit breaker from the wall.
  3. Remove the battery.
  4. Replace the battery and remount the detector.
  5. Turn the breaker on and wait for the alarm to sound.
  6. Hold the test button until the alarm sounds.

Let’s break down these steps in more detail and help you get your smoke detector reset. Keep in mind that if you have a battery-operated smoke detector, you can skip to step three, as steps one and two are unique to electric smoke detectors. 

1. Turn Off the Main Circuit Breaker

This is an important step in the process of resetting electric smoke detectors because messing with anything connected to power can be dangerous. So, turn off the main circuit breaker to help prevent any accidents while resetting your smoke detector. 

If you have never turned off your main circuit breaker before, let’s go over some things you may want to know before you do it. First, turning your circuit breaker off should be done sparingly. Doing this every once in a while will not harm the breaker, but repeatedly turning off the main breaker can cause electrical hazards and harm it. 

Only turn off the circuit breaker when necessary to prevent any damage. However, doing this once in a while will not be harmful. So, don’t be afraid to do it when necessary. 

Another important thing you should know about turning off your residence’s main circuit breaker is that it causes unexpected power loss to your electronics. This could cause a problem for some of the items you own. If you are worried about a sudden loss of power in your electronics, unplug your electronics before turning the breaker off. 

Read: How To Stop Smoke Detector From Chirping Without Battery?

2. Remove The Circuit Breaker From the Wall 

After turning off the main circuit breaker, you can begin to reset your smoke detector. You’ll need to remove the circuit breaker from the wall and disconnect the power cord. 

Start by grabbing the smoke detector and twisting it counterclockwise. This will remove it from the wall, allowing you to access the inside. Be careful during this step because the removable part of the smoke detector will still connect to the wall with a cord. 

Carefully pull the detector down once you detach it from the wall and locate the cord that connects it to the wall. If there is no cord connecting the smoke detector to the wall, then your detector works on battery power only, and you can move on to step three. Otherwise, you will need to remove the cord to completely cut off the power source. 

Connect with an Appliance Repair Tech

Click here to use the chatbox to speak with one of our technicians.
No in-home service calls. No appointments.

Next, you want to carefully remove the cord or cords that connect to your smoke detector. These wires supply power to the detector, and you should only remove them temporarily to reset them. If the wires connect to the detectors with just a plug and socket, go ahead and remove them. 

Sometimes, this is not that easy to do. The cord may connect to the smoke detector via wire nuts. This can complicate removing the cord, but it doesn’t make it impossible. In this case, all you need is a screwdriver. Use the screwdriver to remove the wire nuts and disconnect the cord, freeing the smoke detector. 

Read: Which Type Of Smoke Detector Is Best?

3. Remove the Battery

If you had skipped to this step after omitting steps 1 and 2, remove the smoke detector by twisting it counterclockwise. Once you remove it but fail to see any cord connecting it to the base, you’re all caught up. Now, it’s time to remove the battery. 

All-electric smoke detectors have a backup battery. This is to keep residents safe in the event of a power loss. Thus, you will need this step no matter which type of smoke detector you have in your home. 

Remove the battery from your smoke detector by pulling it out of the detector and disconnecting it from the connector. This will fully shut down the power of the smoke detector, allowing it to 

completely reset. 

Watch the short video below to learn how to change your smoke detector battery.

4. Replace the Battery and Remount the Detector

Leave the battery out of the smoke detector for at least a minute or longer to allow it to reset. Once done, replace the battery into the smoke detector. Make sure to do this carefully, as the way the battery goes in matters. Match the plus and minus signs to the connector to ensure you put the battery back the right way. 

If you have an electric smoke detector, you will also need to reconnect the power cord. Do this by inserting the plug or reattaching the wire nuts with your screwdriver. Once you reinsert the battery and reconnect the plug, reattach the smoke detector to the wall. Do this by pushing it up to the wall and twisting it clockwise until it locks into place. 

Read: Smoke Detector Beeping With New Battery – Easy Fix

5. Turn the Breaker On and Wait for the Alarm to Sound

Once you successfully reattach the smoke detector, it is time to switch on the circuit breaker again. Turn the breaker back on, returning power to your home. When you do this, you should hear the alarm chirp, indicating that power has returned to it. This will not happen with a battery-operated smoke detector as the main breaker will not affect it. 

If your electric smoke detector does not make a noise indicating it has resumed receiving power, that doesn’t necessarily mean the procedure failed. Check for the light on the smoke detector to ensure that it is also working. If you don’t hear a sound and don’t see the light, then try out the next step to make sure it is working. 

Read: Which Has More False Alarms Ionization Or Photoelectric Smoke Detector?

6. Hold the Test Button Until the Alarm Sounds

Finally, it is important to ensure you reconnected your smoke detector properly. The best way to do this is to test it. Once you have reconnected the detector and reattached it to the wall, hold down the test button located on the detector. 

Normally, you only have to hold the button down for about fifteen seconds, but your smoke detector may take longer. So, hold the button down until you hear the alarm chirp. This indicates that it is working properly. If you don’t hear the alarm chip after about a minute, then you have not reconnected it properly and need to follow steps four and five again. 

Read: 3 Ways How To Check For Carbon Monoxide Without A Detector?


Below are answers to some common questions regarding resetting smoke detectors. 

Why Isn’t My Smoke Detector Working After Resetting It?

Your smoke detector will not work after a reset if you fail to reconnect it properly and you don’t restore power. Also, it is possible that your smoke detector battery is dead, and you need to replace it. 

As discussed above in step six, if your smoke detector doesn’t chirp when you test it, this means that you may not have connected it properly. So, follow the steps above to ensure it works correctly, otherwise, your smoke detector may need a new battery. 

Most smoke detectors use a nine-Volt battery, but some use lithium batteries as well. So, check which type of battery your smoke detector uses before purchasing a new one. 

To replace the battery, follow the steps discussed above to open the smoke detector and remove the battery. From there, simply replace the old battery with the new one and follow the steps to reconnect the smoke detector. Even with a new battery, you still need to test the smoke detector to ensure that it is now working properly. 

How Often Should You Replace a Smoke Detector?

Experts recommend you replace your smoke detector about once every ten years to combat normal wear and tear. However, if your smoke detector fails to work properly after resetting it and replacing the battery, you may need to replace it. 

The most important part of the smoke detector to replace is the battery. However, the sensors in your smoke detector will also wear out over time. To ensure this doesn’t cause safety issues, officials recommend replacing the smoke detector every ten years. 

Final Thoughts

Resetting your smoke detector is vital for ensuring it is working properly. It also helps out with any issues you may be facing. The challenge comes with disconnecting the power to the electric smoke detector, as it can be dangerous to work with one before disconnecting the power. 

Overall, resetting the smoke detector can fix many different issues. If you continue to notice problems or inconsistencies, you should replace the battery or consider replacing the detector altogether. Protection Status