Smoke alarms


A smoke alarm is a device that detects a beginning fire and alerts those present. Most smoke alarms are battery-powered, but there are also cell-powered alarms as well as ones powered by mains electricity, in which case they need battery back-up.


Pay attention to functional capacities when choosing the place for a smoke alarm.

  • Fit the smoke alarm in the ceiling as close to the centre of the room as possible in a spot where smoke can enter without any obstructions.
  • Make sure the smoke alarm is at least 50cm from a wall, corner or ceiling beam. When choosing the spot also take into consideration any airflows that might stop combustion gases from reaching the alarm. For example, do not place the alarm near an airing window or forced ventilation.
  • A smoke alarm should not be fitted in a kitchen or humid or highly dusty premises.
  • Fit the smoke alarm as specified in the instructions provided with the alarm, taking the above guidelines into consideration.



Smoke alarms gather dust easily, which makes them more sensitive and may result in false alarms. Therefore they should be cleaned a few times a year.

  • You can use a vacuum cleaner to gently clean the smoke alarm.
  • You can also use a slightly damp cloth to wipe off any surface dust.
  • Take care not to allow any moisture to enter the alarm as humidity may affect its functioning.
  • Following maintenance measures, make sure you always test the alarm by pressing the test button.


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.


Make sure you check the functioning of your smoke alarms every month and replace ordinary batteries every year.



Smoke alarms fall within the scope of the recycling scheme of electrical and electronic equipment. Some older smoke alarms, namely those sold before 13 August 2005, will not necessarily have the recycling marking. The installation and maintenance instructions provided with smoke alarms sold earlier are likely to state that the smoke alarm can be disposed of with household waste. This guideline is no longer valid. Instead, all smoke alarms must be taken to a recycling point intended for electric and electronic equipment.


Traders are not under a statutory obligation to receive electric and electronic equipment, but they do have to advise their customers where the nearest official recycling point is. If a trader receives an old appliance from a consumer in conjunction with a purchase, this must take place without a separate charge. However, traders collecting old electric and electronic equipment from households are entitled to levy a charge that covers transport costs. 


There are currently almost 200 official recycling points in Finland. Click here Elker Oy WEE Recycling for their addresses.