How's That Smoke Alarm Sounding?

Free batteries are the best batteries.

Free batteries are the best batteries.

Replacing batteries is annoying. Especially for things like smoke alarms that do not have the ability to flip the station for you. Alas, it’s true. Smoke alarms sit quietly in waiting, seemingly not doing a whole lot of anything. But then, they’re ready at a moment’s notice to save your life. Unless the battery’s dead.

Not to be all melodrama, but when’s the last time you tested your smoke alarm? We thought so. That’s why Ace Hardware stores in DC and Maryland are encouraging you to stand up on a chair, push the test button until you hear the alarm, and if not, bring the dead battery in to get a new one. For free. We’re doing this all week (10/4-10/10) in honor of National Fire Prevention week. It’s a big deal. Even these people think so. (And so do they.)

A working smoke alarm is integral to a proactive and preventative approach to fire safety, and October is a great time to conduct smoke-alarm maintenance in preparation for the winter season; December to February is prime time for home fires and deaths. We also recommend testing fire extinguishers, inspecting plugs and wires for damage, and mapping out and practicing a home-evacuation route.) Other good reasons for consumers to test their smoke alarms and replace batteries, according the National Fire Prevention Association:

  1. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half.
  2. Almost two-thirds of reported home-fire deaths in 2003 to 2006 resulted from fires in homes with either no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  3. In more than half of the reported home fires in which smoke alarms were present but did not operate, batteries were either missing or disconnected.

And what happens to the old batteries? They get recycled through our ongoing recycling program. Consumers can drop off their batteries to any of the locations free of charge and without purchase. (Each battery should be placed in an individual plastic bag.) The stores then deliver the used batteries to AERC Recycling Solutions in southern Virginia.  

 Washington Locations:

Glover Park Hardware, 2251 Wisconsin Ave NW, 202-333-6378 

Logan Hardware, 1416 P St NW, 202-265-8900

Tenleytown Ace Hardware, 4500 Wisconsin Ave NW, 202-364-1902 

5th Street Ace Hardware, 1055 5th Street, NW, 202-682-4570    

 Baltimore Locations:

Waverly Ace Hardware, 601 Homestead St., Baltimore, 443-627-8893

Federal Hill Ace Hardware, 1214 Light St., Baltimore, 410-244-5910 

 Find us online: or



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