Smoke detectors and fire alarms are some of the essential items in your home, especially when it comes to keeping your family safe. These warning devices help alert your family to fire and dangerous smoke while there is still time to evacuate. However, for fire alarms to work when needed, they must be periodically tested to ensure that they are functioning correctly. If your fire alarms are malfunctioning, or you wish to add alarms in central areas of your home, contact your TriStar electrician to install new, long-lasting fire alarms. Then, follow the tips below for testing your alarms.
Why Should You Test Your Fire Alarms?
Electronic devices can be very beneficial, but they are not infallible. Batteries die, and other parts of your smoke detectors can wear out over time. By testing them regularly and replacing batteries or even the entire device when necessary, you ensure that your family stays safe when unexpected fires occur.
When Should You Test Your Smoke Detectors?
The U.S. Fire Administration suggests that you test your fire alarms at least once a month and replace any batteries at least once or twice a year. An easy way to remember when to change the batteries is to do so when you set your clocks for daylight saving time. You should also consider if any of the following apply:
- The detector gives false alarms
- The alarm emits short beeps when no one is touching it
- Frequent kitchen smoke has activated it often, which may wear it out faster
In those instances, you may need to check your fire alarms more frequently.
The Two Types of Fire Alarms
There are two primary types of smoke detectors you can install in your home, including:
- Battery-powered: These types of alarms can be susceptible to defective or worn-out batteries. Monthly testing is recommended, and you should never place old batteries in these fire alarms.
- Hardwired: These detectors are powered by your electrical system, but they often have backup batteries, so the device remains operational during a power outage. Hardwired alarms still require monthly testing to ensure that both the batteries and regular parts are functioning.
How Do You Test Fire Alarms?
To properly test your fire alarm, press and hold the test button on the smoke detector. After a few seconds, a loud siren should emanate from the alarm. If the sound is weak or nonexistent, replace your batteries. If you cannot hear the alarm in some areas of the home, you may want to install new detectors.
If it has been more than six months since you last replaced the batteries, you should change them now and test the new batteries. Smoke detectors have a typical lifespan of 10 years and should be replaced at that time even if you have been maintaining the device well.
You can never predict when a fire may start in your home, but having confidence in your fire alarms means that you will always be alerted right away to any dangerous smoke or fire.
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