4 Easy Steps to Test Your Smoke Alarms

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SMOKE ALARMS are essential safety devices, primarily because they increase your chances of escaping from house fires. A working in good condition smoke detector gives users an early warning of a fire, making their escape more likely and successful.

The primary function of a smoke alarm is to identify the presence of a fire. The way it senses the presence of fire largely depends on the type of detector it is.

It is critical to mention that there are two types of smoke detectors. These are the photoelectric and the ionization model.

Both feature two major components; the alarm and the sensor. These two components play a significant role in the overall functioning of the unit, that is, to sense the fire as soon as possible and attract the attention of anyone in the house.

Both ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors have particular advantages which make them relatively more effective in specific areas. Thankfully, there are also combination models that apply both ionization and photoelectric methods in detecting smoke.


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Verify the functions of your smoke detector

Generally speaking, smoke detectors do not last forever. Just like any other electrical device, they age over time and can develop certain mechanical problems. This implies that it is a great idea to replace your units every ten years to ensure that you have an effective and reliable source of fire detector in the house.

Many experts agree that you should always acquire new detectors even if your old models seem to be in a good working condition. Thanks to the advent of technology, some of the latest models come equipped with self-test functions which let you periodically examine their reliability to identify potential mechanical issues.

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How do you test your smoke alarms?

Before we proceed further, it’s imperative to note that you are highly discouraged from using the test button as it may not give sufficient results. This is because it does not examine the smoke sensor in your unit, which can somehow be ineffective even if the horn sounds.

It is recommended that you should seek professional inspection from a qualified electrician.

Step 1: Make sure that you’ve notified every member of your household that you’ll be conducting a smoke alarm test. What’s more, if the smoke detecting unit is hardwired to a monitored security plan, due diligence should guide you to inform the firm’s security system that you are actually testing your smoke detector.

Step 2: It is highly recommended that you instruct one of your family members to go to a place which is as far from your detector as possible. This will enable you to evaluate whether the detector can be heard at such a distance or not.

Step 3: Test if the smoke alarms can actually work. Here, you’ll need a spray can of the aerosol smoke detector. They are available in many Australian home improvement stores and are highly affordable. Just sprinkle some of the test material into your detector. Sit back and wait for a response.


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If your alarm produces a sound, then you know that it can do the same in real life situations as well. If it fails to respond, then you’ll know the unit is defective. You can change the batteries and conduct the test once more. If it does not give a positive feedback, you’ll have to replace it immediately.

Step 4: Next, you’ll have to turn off your smoke alarms. You can use your vacuum to suck the test material out of the unit. Some smoke detectors feature a silence button which silences the alarm until the residue is removed.

Whatever els you do, it is always advised that you should consult a highly-trained electrician to inspect and test your smoke alarm for you.

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