Smoke Alarm Batteries Don’t Work – Here’s Why.

We recently completed a Facebook survey asking people what they didn’t like most about smoke alarms, and their answers all focused on battery life as a key design failure of old style smoke alarms. Batteries in ionisation alarms are usually the 9v type which generally has a battery life of around 12 – 18 months at best. These batteries can range $8 – $12 each and the costs can add up, however that’s not what really got people’s blood going in our survey!

1. New smoke alarm batteries that don’t last

Even brand new batteries can be left on the retail shop shelf for some time, reducing their overall life span. Old style smoke alarms tend to false alarm more often too, consuming precious battery life. This leads to the conclusion that the batteries are faulty, but they may just be old or have consumed their energy early through a series of false alarms.

2. Batteries going flat in the middle of the night

By far the most talked about gripe with old style smoke alarms is their tendency to start the low battery beep in the middle of a cold winter’s night! This is the least ideal time to tell you, yet it’s the most likely time because of how battery technology operates. The colder the conditions, the harder a battery has to work to maintain it’s charge. Old style smoke alarms that may rely on a near empty battery are fine through summer, however they will struggle as we go into winter. Expect an increase in low battery chirps from May – September!

3. False alarms when cooking

Smoke alarms shouldn’t be installed in the kitchen because they will false alarm from cooking activities. Thermal Heat Detectors are the recommended choice as they pick up on rapid and constant heat changes in the area, rather than smoke. Given the high percentage of house fires that start in the kitchen, Thermal Heat Detectors provide an early detection and are a life saver.

4. Forgetting to change smoke alarm batteries

If your batteries have gone flat at 2am in the morning, it’s impossible to change them right then and there unless you have spare batteries. Even then, it’s not top of your list to be standing in the freezing cold on a ladder trying to stop an alarm chirping before the whole house wakes up! What usually happens is we tell ourselves we’ll change it the next day… then we don’t get around to it. This is how 80% of house fatalities start.

5. The serial chirping smoke alarms

It is highly recommended to have smoke alarms in each bedroom as well as the hallway, because that’s where fires can start. The earlier you discover a fire, the more chance there is at getting everyone out of the house safely and for the fire service to put out the fire and save your belongings and home. Unfortunately, the downside of multiple smoke alarms if they’re of the old style, is the low battery chirps will start at different times across the set. The only way to fix this is to change all of the batteries as soon as the first one starts beeping. We believe there is a better way with 10 year long life batteries.


Don’t change the smoke alarm batteries. Change the smoke alarm.

Over 1.5 million CAVIUS smoke alarms have been sold worldwide, helping save more lives. We have been sharing the message in New Zealand since 2012 that Cavius Smoke Alarms use the very latest photoelectric technology, and that’s why the NZ Fire Service recommends them. Measuring only 4cm wide they’re very discreet and stylish and have been a popular choice with leading New Zealand interior designers and consultants. So many people remove their smoke alarm batteries because of false alarms or they go flat and never bother to replace them. In fact, at over 80 per cent of fires attended by the Fire Service, smoke alarms are either not installed at all or not working properly, which is crazy. People cannot smell smoke when they’re asleep and that’s when fatalities occur.

Install Long Life Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

A working smoke alarm is your only voice.


How To Install A Cavius Smoke Alarm

Watch this 2 minute video as CAVIUS employee Shaun Howes takes us through the steps.