Smoke detectors are inexpensive devices that alert your family in case of house fires and save countless dollars in property damage every year. It’s important to periodically check the Smoke detectors to ensure they are in proper working condition. Typically, you should check your smoke detectors according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Let’s get into the specifics of testing your smoke detectors.
How Often Should You Check Your Smoke Detectors?
Before taking on testing, you need to know the frequency of testing. Fire departments advise testing the alarm beep every month, vacuuming it every six months, and replacing the alkaline batteries for the alkaline battery-powered smoke detectors once or twice a year. It’s always a good idea to understand the model of the smoke detector. AC-powered models last longer than battery-powered smoke detectors; therefore, you will not need to test them as much.
How to Test Your Smoke Detectors
Testing your smoke detectors is something most homeowners can do on their own, but if you don’t feel confident or have been instructed not to, then you can always give us a call to test them for you. Here are some easy-to-follow steps for testing your smoke detectors:
- Alert members of the house and the security company before testing. Functioning smoke detectors produce loud sounds that may frighten the building’s occupants. Position one member of the household at the farthest corner of the house so that they can alert you if they hear the sound.
- Press the test button. Smoke detectors have a test button on the side that sounds the alarm when you press it. Newer models have blinking or solid lights that indicate power is reaching the device.
- The test button only tells you the detector is working and will sound the alarm if smoke enters the chamber. Use aerosol sprays or smoke from three burned matchsticks to check if the sensors respond.
- Direct the non-flammable aerosol can and spray nearer the sensors. Alternatively, waft the smoke from the matchsticks to the sensors. Do not use a real flame to avoid fraying wires inside the smoke detector. If your alarm beeps, then it is functioning well.
- Check if any debris or dirt clogs the sensors and the detector’s openings. You may use a vacuum to clear the dirt rather than wipe the smoke detector.
- Repeat the sequence for other smoke detectors in the house.
Depending on the type of smoke detector, hardwired or battery-powered, you may take extra precautions in testing. Hardwired units derive power from your electricity lines, so you must be extra cautious in preventing a real fire. Do not handle exposed wires when testing the AC-powered smoke detectors. You can use a multimeter to test the electrical strength of the detector. Unplug the wire connecting to the siren to avoid triggering false alarms.
Always check with the manufacturer on the type of smoke detector before attempting DIY testing. If you’re unsure, you can always contact a professional installer.
Common Smoke Detector Faults
The essence of testing your smoke detectors is to ensure they work well when you need them. Like all other devices, the sensors lose efficiency over time and may develop problems that hinder their effectiveness. Here are some common issues you may encounter.
The detector’s alarm chirps to indicate battery low. The chirping sound notifies you to replace the batteries. Hardwired smoke detectors do not have insufficient power issues unless the wires don’t relay enough power. You also need to replace the backup batteries for the hardwired models.
A faulty detector may also beep incessantly or fail to alert you in case of a fire. Most smoke detectors are linked to the security alarm system if you have one. If your security company monitors the alarm system, you will need to call in a professional from Magothy Electric Co. Inc. to test your detectors professionally.
Detectors last about ten years, according to the United States Fire Administration. After ten years, you may need to install newer smoke detectors instead of spending money on testing and replacing components.
Keep Your Smoke Detectors Running Smoothly
No smoke detector is infallible to defects such as damaged sensors or short-circuiting. Do not let house fires in Glen Burnie put your life at risk and damage property. Contact Magothy Electric Co. Inc. for professional testing, installation, and maintaining smoke detectors. We believe your safety should come first. Keep you and your family safe in the event of a fire by keeping your smoke detectors in tip-top shape all year round.