How to Test Your Smoke Detector

Picture of a person testing a smoke detector

Your smoke detector is one of the most important items in your home. It helps to ensure you and your family are alerted in the instance of emergency, giving you time to evacuate and get to safety. But without proper maintenance, a smoke detector may fail to perform when you need it most. It’s important to test your smoke alarm periodically to ensure it remains in good working order.


Why Test Your Smoke Alarm

Experts recommend you test your fire alarm at least once a month and to replace batteries 2 times per year. One simple way to remember to change your batteries is to change them when you reset your clocks each year for daylight savings time.

There are two types of smokes alarms:

  • Battery powered smoke alarms. Powered solely by battery and susceptible to wearing out over time.
  • Hardwired smoke alarms. Powered by your home’s electrical system. Contain backup batteries in case of a power outage.

Now matter which type of smoke alarm you have in your home, it’s important to test your alarm periodically to ensure it is functioning properly.

The Steps to Testing Your Smoke Detector

Now that you know why it’s important to test your security alarm, it’s time to start testing. You will want to check the manufacturer's instructions before testing, but in general, here is how it’s done:

Step 1: Alert Household You are Testing

Let everyone in your home know you are about test the smoke detector. It has an exceptionally high pitched noise, which can frighten small children. To avoid alarming your family, ensure everyone is aware that the alarm is about to be tested and this is not an emergency.

Step 2: Station Family Members throughout Your Home

Next, station one of your family members at the furthest end of your home to ensure the smoke detector can be heard all around the house. If the sound is too low or muffled, you may want to consider installing a second smoke detector to ensure your safety in the instance of an emergency.

Step 3: Press and Hold the Button on Your Fire Alarm

Once you have completed the proper prep, it is time for the actual test. If you need to, grab a step stool or ladder to help you reach the smoke detector. Next, press and hold the test button on the smoke detector. It’s possible it could take a few seconds to react. The smoke alarm should emit a loud ear-piercing siren while the button is pressed. 

If you find that the sound is weak or nonexistent, replace the batteries. If you haven’t changed the batteries in 6 months, do so now—even if the test results were positive. Also, check the grates to ensure no dust is blocking them.

Most smoke detectors that are properly maintained will last you about 10 years. After that, they will need replacing. Smoke detectors help to protect your family and home from danger, but never assume they are working. Make sure to test.

NCA Alarms offers monitored smoke detectors that are perfect for protecting your home from fire. They detect smoke when you are at home and when you are away and are monitored 24/7. Learn more about our monitor smoke detectors by contacting us today at (615) 777-7622.