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Help! How Do I Check My Smoke Detectors?

If you live in California, you know how widespread and dangerous wildfires can be. Due to the threat of wildfires, you’re likely aware of how important smoke detectors are to your safety. No matter where you live, you can help safeguard your family and your home by staying up-to-date on smoke detector safety. Here is a closer look at how to test your smoke detectors.

Why Test Your Smoke Detectors?

Smoke detectors are crucial pieces of equipment for your safety. They’re designed to warn you as soon as they detect smoke, helping you take action fast to keep yourself and any other people in your home safe. Not having a working smoke alarm can carry serious consequences, with three out of every five home fire deaths coming from properties without functioning smoke detectors.

Smoke detectors also often contain carbon monoxide sensors, which can help keep you and your family safe in the event of a gas leak. 

Regularly testing your smoke detectors can help you ensure they work when you need them to. Like other electronic devices, a smoke detector requires regular battery changes and can wear out over time. By conducting regular smoke detector tests, you’ll be more likely to catch these issues and take action on them early.

How Often Should I Test My Smoke Detectors?

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, you should test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Since smoke detectors rely on batteries for their power, it’s best practice to replace your batteries at least once or twice a year.

When was the last time you installed new smoke detectors? The older these devices are, the more prone they become to potentially lethal malfunctions. As such, the U.S. Fire Administration also recommends you fully replace your smoke detectors every 10 years after their manufacturing date

How Do I Test My Smoke Detectors?

Since you’ll want to test your smoke detectors every month, you’ll likely need to know how to test them properly. Take a minute to learn how you can check your smoke alarm below:

1. Alert Family or Roommates About the Test

Before you set off your smoke detectors, make sure everyone at your home knows you’re testing them. If they’re not aware you’re conducting a smoke detector test, setting off the test alarm could make them think there’s an actual emergency. As a result, it’s important to notify everyone about the time of the test.

2. Have Someone Help You

When you test the smoke detector, you’ll be right under it, meaning you won’t know how loud it is throughout the rest of your home. To ensure your smoke alarm is loud enough to be heard throughout your home, you can have a friend or family member stand at the farthest location in your home from the alarm. Once you trigger the alarm, they’ll be able to let you know if the alarm isn’t loud enough. 

3. Press the Test Button

With someone else ready to hear the alarm, you’ll want to press the alarm’s test button and hold it for a few seconds. If the smoke detector is working, you should hear a loud noise come from it. Whoever is listening for the alarm at the other side of your home should be able to clearly hear it as well.

You’ll likely need to replace your batteries if the smoke detector doesn’t make a very loud noise or if it doesn’t make a sound at all. When new batteries don’t solve the issue, your smoke alarm might be broken, or it could have something blocking its grates. If a simple cleaning does not resolve your smoke detector issues, you may need professional smoke detector installation. 

For more specific information about your smoke detector’s unique testing, troubleshooting, and care processes, please reference the user manual or instruction guide. 

What Should I Do When My Smoke Detector Doesn’t Work or Has Passed Its 10 Year Date?

When your smoke detector is older than 10 years or has stopped working, it is time for a smoke detector replacement. While some homeowners try to DIY this process, for best results, contact a trained electrician who can evaluate your home’s needs. An experienced electrician will know what smoke alarms are the best for your needs and budget. They can also find the best location for smoke alarms throughout your home and manage the hassle of safely installing new smoke detectors.

Turn to Bonney for Smoke Detector Installation in Sacramento

When your smoke detector has reached the end of the road, the electricians at Bonney can help. We can provide you with smoke alarm installation services, carbon monoxide sensor installation, and other electrical services that ensure your home is protected. Since we know how important fire safety is to those in California, we regularly provide smoke alarm installation and inspection services to our clients in the greater Sacramento area—including Roseville, Carmichael, Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Gold River, Fair Oaks, Vacaville, Natomas, La Riviera, Rosemont, and beyond!.

Our Certified Bonney electricians will help you find where your new smoke alarms should be installed to give you maximum security and peace of mind. The Bonney Beyond maintenance program is especially popular among homeowners, as we provide regular smoke alarm inspections and other services, such as annual HVAC, plumbing, and electrical inspections and maintenance. We invite you to review the benefits of our Bonney Beyond program to see if this is right for you. If you’re ready to receive smoke detector installation or inspection services, please feel free to contact us or make your appointment here online today!