Smoke Detector - How often should you check
Smoke detector & fire alarm system may be the most important items in your home especially when it comes to your family’s safety.
They are considered early warning devices and they may help alert you to fire and dangerous smoke and provide enough time to evacuate,
So, they need to be periodically tested to help ensure proper function when you need them.
Why they need to be tested?
As smoke detectors are electronic devices, they may contain batteries that die, and other parts that can wear out over time.
You’ll want to regularly check your detectors and replace their batteries, or in some cases the entire device. Doing this ensures that your family will stay safe if there ever is a fire in your home.
How often should I check my smoke detector?
You should test you smoke detectors at least once a month and batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year. They actually don’t need a ton of maintenance and you can do this by yourself.
A good way to remember to do this is to change your batteries & test your smoke detectors when you change your clocks for daylight saving time (when you spring forward or fall back).
However, be sure to review your smoke detector’s user manual, as you may need to check your devices more frequently if any of the following apply:
- The detector often gives false alarms.
- The alarm emits short beeps regularly without any reason.
- Frequent kitchen smoke has caused it to activate often, which may wear it out faster.
There are two main types of smoke detectors:
- Battery-powered: These detectors can easily have defective or worn-out batteries. Monthly testing is critical. Never use old batteries.
- Hardwired: These detectors are powered by your home’s electrical system, but they usually have backup batteries so still work if there is a power outage. Although hardwired smoke detectors are powered by home’s electricity, they still need to be tested monthly. This helps ensure that both the parts and batteries are working properly.
How Do You Test It?
You should always check with your detector’s manufacturer’s instructions for the proper way to test your fire alarm and smoke detector. But in general, smoke detector can be tested in the following way:
Let your family members know that you are testing the alarm. Smoke detectors have a very high-pitched sound that can frighten children and pets. So you’ll want to let everyone know you plan to help avoid scaring anyone.
Have someone stand at the farthermost point away from the alarm. This can be critical to help make sure the alarm can be heard everywhere in your home. You may need to install extra detectors in areas where the alarm’s sound is muffled, weak or low.
Now, Press and hold the smoke detector’s test button. It can take a few seconds to begin, you should hear an ear-piercing, loud siren from the detector when you press the button.
If you don’t hear anything OR the sound is weak, you must replace your batteries.
If it has been more than six months since you last replaced the batteries (whether your detector is battery-powered or hardwired), change your batteries immediately regardless of the test result.
Test the new batteries one final time to make sure it’s working properly. Make sure you check your smoke detector to make sure there’s no dust or other substance blocking the grates. This can prevent the detector from working properly.
How long do smoke detector last?
In addition to routinely checking your detectors, you should also know that smoke alarms tend to last only about 10 years. You should replace your detector every 10 years, even if your devices seem to be working correctly.
So, it’s highly recommended to check the expiry date mentioned on the back of your smoke detectors to make sure they will work properly when you need them.
Check your Smoke Detector today!!
Now, you know how to check smoke detectors by yourself. Make it as part of your housekeeping routine. It takes only a few minutes to make sure your devices are working properly and ready to save your family’s life.