How to Test and Check Smoke Detectors
Learn how alarmingly simple it is to make sure you’ll be alerted in case of fire.
Don’t leave your smoke detectors hanging.
A home smoke detector is one of those things you probably take for granted. You may not even know where they are—until you hear an alarm or that annoying chirping sound.
The fact is, a smoke detector can save your life—as long as it’s properly maintained. Here’s what you need to know to keep them working so you can rest easy.
Get on schedule.
You should have smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, and in or near each bedroom. To keep them from waking you up with chirping, put them on a regular maintenance schedule. We recommend twice a year—when daylight savings time begins and ends.
Check to see smoke detectors are working.
Checking your smoke detectors is simple. First, know whether they’re battery operated, lithium battery operated, or hardwired. Most are powered by 9-volt batteries. Climb on a step stool, remove the plastic cap from the detector, replace the battery and press the test button. If you hear an alarm signal, you’re good to go. If your detectors are wired into your electrical system, they still have backup batteries in case of a power outage. Lithium batteries never need to be replaced.
Most smoke detectors last 10 years tops.
Detach them from the ceiling and check the date stamped on the back. Replace them by this date to make sure they work properly.
It’s literally a matter of life and death.
Smoke detectors are simple devices that can save lives. According to the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire deaths happen in homes without working smoke alarms. Having working smoke alarms cuts the risk of dying in a home fire by half.
Maintaining your smoke alarms takes minutes, and it’s worth it for the peace of mind it provides. Make a point to check them at least twice a year.
At Frontdoor, we know you love getting things done around the house. Staying in control of your to-do list is easier when you can keep the small things from turning into bigger—and more expensive—ones. We’re here to make it easier to prevent problems instead of reacting to them. We help you gain the peace of mind that comes with staying on top of your home’s health.
Want to learn more about checking smoke detectors, keeping your house safe, or general home repair and maintenance? Download the app if you haven’t already, and chat with a helpful, friendly Frontdoor expert.
Frontdoor assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.
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It’s easy to forget they’re even there. But your home’s smoke detectors are constantly standing guard against fire danger—as long as they’re working. We’ve put together a guide to help you make sure your first line of defense doesn’t let you down when you need it most.