Testing Smoke Detectors

The single most important maintenance task homeowners should perform around the house is testing smoke detectors. Having operable smoke detectors saves lives. It’s that simple. Two-thirds of reported residential fire deaths occur in homes with smoke alarms that are not working or not present. Many homeowners take these little devices for granted and assume they are fool proof and completely reliable. However, your life is in the hands of one little battery, and batteries require testing and eventually replacement.

There are many smoke detector manufacturers and many different types of detectors out there, so check the instructions for testing recommendations. If you don’t have this information you can test your smoke detectors by simply pressing and holding the test button. If the device beeps or rings loudly for a few seconds it is working. If your smoke detectors are interconnected you should hear the detectors throughout the house as well. Never test smoke detectors by creating smoke or by putting a candle under the detector. Smoke from burning food in the kitchen is not an approved way to test detectors.