Tech

How to Test Your Smoke Detectors

Fire alarms and smoke detectors are vital to the safety of your home or business. Without them, there is no telling when the smallest of sparks can turn into the largest of blazes.

If you have smoke detectors, that’s a good start. That said, you need to make sure that you are properly testing out your smoke detectors from time to time. If you aren’t sure how to approach testing them, this is the helpful guide that you have been looking for.

How Often to Test Your Smoke Detectors

Prior to running a test of any kind, it helps to know how often you should be running these tests. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), they recommend that detectors should be tested at a minimum of once per month. They also suggest that batteries be changed at least once per year to be on the safe side.

There are, however, factors that can change those parameters. If you notice that the detector gives off false alarms, for instance. There is a short beep without being touch, that’s a problem. If you cook a lot and smoke trips the alarm, consider getting a ventilation hood because frequently going off can wear the smoke detector down a lot faster.

Plan the Test

While there are a few detector testers out there, they are not exactly commonplace. The key to testing out your detectors is to plan ahead. For your home, let family members know. At your place of business, issue an alert that the smoke detectors will be tested. This way, no one will be alarm when they start going off.

The high-pitched alarm systems can be quite frightening if you aren’t expecting them. By planning ahead, you can avoid confusion and any other hassles that might come from a lack of preparation. It is a simple step but one that can easily throw things off in a way that is tough to recover from.

Have Help

It is important to note that you probably can’t test your smoke detectors without having a little bit of help. Start by stationing a family member or co-worker at the furthest possible point away from the alarm. This is the best way to test the range of your alarm so that anyone in the building can hear it from all points.

If that person finds it difficult to hear the smoke detector go off, it may be time to consider adding one or two more detectors. Look for areas that are a bit closer to that perimeter. The last thing you need is to have a smoke detector that can’t be hear from all areas of the building because people may not be able to get out in a timely manner in the event of a fire.

Test the Detector

Start the test by pressing and holding the button on the smoke detector. Be patient as it can take a few seconds to register. You should hear a loud, shrieking beep come from the smoke detector. If the sound is either weak or doesn’t happen at all, it is time to replace the batteries and try the test again.

If it has been less than 6 months since you last changed out the batteries, it might be time to change them out and try again. Give your smoke detector a once over to ensure that everything looks good and that everything is working properly. Dust the unit as well because keeping it clean will ensure that there are no blockages in the grates, which can keep it from working even if the batteries are new.

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