Smoke alarms easily gather dust, which renders them more sensitive and prone to false alarms. Smoke alarms should be gently vacuumed a few times a year. Dust on the surface can also be wiped off with a slightly damp cloth. Care should be taken not to allow moisture inside the device, as its operation may be impeded. Smoke alarms should always be tested by pushing the test button after cleaning and other maintenance.
To prevent false alarming and ensure operating reliability, a smoke alarm shall be replaced at an interval of 5–10 years. The alarm shall carry an indication of the time of replacement recommended by the manufacturer, usually found at the bottom of the device.
Under the Finnish Rescue Act (379/2011), section 17, it is the duty of the occupant of the flat to buy an adequate number of smoke alarms and to keep them in good working order. The operation of a smoke alarm shall be checked each month and regular batteries replaced once every year.
In line with the policy adopted by the Ministry of the Interior Rescue Department, the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation and the Finnish National Rescue Association SPEK in 2014, in housing companies the company shall be responsible for the maintenance (replacement) and the battery replacement of smoke alarms powered by mains electricity in each flat. As there is a large variety of smoke alarms used in housing, the company shall find out the relevant battery replacement intervals and arrange the replacement regularly. But, the occupant of the flat shall bear the responsibility for the regular testing of the alarm's proper function. The company shall provide the occupants with adequate instructions on how to act in different situations with a smoke alarm powered by mains electricity.