Who You Should Call to Change a Smoke Detector Battery on a High Ceiling

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated May 4, 2022
A repairman changing battery in smoke detector
Photo: Andrey Popov / Adobe Stock

If you have a beeping smoke detector high above your head, don’t DIY: Hire a handyperson instead

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Replacing a smoke detector couldn’t be a simpler job, and it’s not something you’d hire a professional to do. But what if that smoke detector is 20 feet above you? Alas, you’ve finally found a downside to those high ceilings you love.

Fortunately, this is not really a difficult job—you just probably lack the ladder to do it (and perhaps have a bit of a fear of heights). That’s why calling a local handyperson might be a smart move to change batteries in a smoke detector you can’t quite reach. 

Benefits of Hiring a Handyperson to Change a Smoke Detector Battery on a High Ceiling

A handyperson is a good choice for this type of work because you really just need someone with the equipment necessary to do the job. You'll need a large extension ladder to climb up to those heights, which is something a handyperson will likely have.

The primary benefits of hiring a handyperson include:

  • It's generally affordable: The cost to hire a handyperson for a job as simple as this is as little as $65.

  • You won't have to purchase a large extension ladder if you don't own one.

  • You won't have to climb a significant height, and therefore there are no safety risks to you.

  • You can bundle this task in with others to make a call to a handyperson worth your while.

Can I DIY Changing a Smoke Detector Battery From This Height?

Yes, you can, but it may be more expensive than hiring a pro to take care of it for you. You may need a 24-foot extension ladder for this job, and those typically cost anywhere from $250 to $500 or more. If you plan on needing an extension ladder for other projects in the future, it may be worth it, but an hour of a handyperson's time will not cost anywhere near that price.

There's also the safety risk involved. Climbing a ladder to a height of 20 feet or more can be very dangerous if you don't have a lot of experience working on a ladder. It's best to let a professional do this work, especially if you have a few other tasks on your to-do list that a handyperson can tackle.

Can I Hire an Electrician to Change the Smoke Detector Battery?

A man changing battery in smoke alarm
Photo: Tetra Images / Tetra images / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

You can hire an electrician near you to do this job, and that may be a better option than a handyperson if you find that you’ll need to replace the entire smoke detector rather than just the battery. You'll likely pay a little more for an electrician, although for a straightforward job like this, probably not much more. 

The cost of hiring an electrician is $300 on average, but again since this is a simple project, it's probably more in the $85 to $100 range. If you have a few electrical issues around your home, it may be worth their while (and yours) to bundle the tasks together in one visit.

How Does a Handyperson Change a Smoke Detector Battery? 

First, the handyperson will set up the ladder underneath the smoke detector and then climb the ladder to the point where they can reach the smoke detector. Then, the handyperson will take off the battery cover and pull out the old battery. They will then put in a new battery (usually a 9-volt, but other types are possible) and then put the battery cover back in place. The job should take no more than a few minutes.

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