How to install a smoke alarm

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How to install a smoke alarm

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Project Overview

Learn how simple it can be to install a smoke alarm by yourself. We show you where to install your alarm and how to attach it to the ceiling. We also explain what to do when you’re screwing directly into plaster. Plus you will see how to make sure the alarm is working properly once it’s installed.

Continue to step-by-step instructions
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Smoke alarm testing

Smoke alarms are an important part of protecting your home and family from the dangers of fire. Every smoke alarm has a test button to make sure that the battery isn’t flat and the siren is still working. But you don’t need to climb all the way up to the ceiling to press the button. Just get a long handled broom or mop and use that instead.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Mark up your drill points on the ceiling
2 Drill screw holes into the ceiling
3 Mount the alarm on the ceiling
  • Step 1. Mark up your drill points on the ceiling

    To work properly, smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling at least 300mm from the nearest wall. Measure and mark that distance on your ceiling and then lay the base of the smoke alarm up against the mark. Use the baseplate bracket as a template to mark up your drill points on the ceiling.
  • Step 2. Drill screw holes into the ceiling

    Next, drill your holes into the ceiling. Most ceilings are made of plaster covering a timber frame. If you have to drill straight into the plaster, you need to reinforce the drill holes with some plasterboard anchors before you drive in your screws.

  • Step 3. Mount the alarm on the ceiling

    Now, screw the baseplate onto the ceiling. Make sure you are standing safely on the floor before putting the battery into your smoke alarm. Then fix the alarm back into the bracket on the ceiling. While you are up there, press the test button on the alarm to make sure it’s working.

Tools and Materials


  • Drill
  • Impact driver
  • Ladder
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Tape measure


  • Nylon plasterboard anchors
  • Smoke alarm

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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