How to Properly Test a Smoke Detector

How to Test Your Smoke Detector

Always comply with the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper way to test your smoke detector. Generally, you should follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Let members of the household know you will be testing the alarm. You don’t want to give anyone a scare, and children could especially be frightened by the noise.
  2. Place someone at furthest point from the detector. This will ensure that the alarm can be heard throughout the entire house.
  3. Push and hold the test button. It may take a few seconds for the alarm to sound. If no sound occurs or it is weak, replace the batteries. If it’s been more than six months since you last changed the batteries, replace them regardless of the result. Test the detector with the new batteries. If your smoke detector doesn’t work with new batteries, purchase a new detector and replace the old one immediately.

It is also recommended to test your smoke alarms with real smoke from a blown-out match or an aerosol can of smoke made specifically for this purpose. Doing this will confirm that your alarm will react in the event of an actual fire.

Tips on Smoke Detectors

  • Install smoke detectors in every bedroom and on every level of your home, including the basement.
  • For best protection, install both ionization and photoelectric alarms or a dual sensor alarm. Ionization alarms are more responsive to flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms are more responsive to smoldering fires.
  • Test your smoke alarms every month.
  • Clear dust and other particles from your alarms.
  • Change the batteries in your alarms twice a year with the time change.
  • Replace your smoke detectors every 10 years.