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The Home Depot

How Often Should I Test My Smoke Alarm?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Home Inspection > How Often Should I Test My Smoke Alarm?
How Often Should I Test My Smoke Alarm?

Smoke alarms work by alerting you to the presence of smoke and help you and your family leave the home before the fire spreads. They help save lives. Smoke alarms should be installed in rooms with heavy electrical equipment such as ACs and TVs. They should also be installed in corridors leading to bedrooms so that sleeping residents can be alerted in time. However, smoke alarms should not be installed in kitchens and garages since there is a chance of false alarms when smoke is generated during cooking or from the exhaust of vehicles.

  1. 1. Benefits of Maintaining Your Alarm

    The smoke alarm is only beneficial if it functions properly, that is, the alarm goes off when smoke is detected. For this the sensors of the smoke alarm should work and the alarm should go off loudly enough to wake up even heavy sleepers. A well-maintained smoke alarm will go off as soon as the sensor detects signs of smoke, waking sleeping residents, or alerting those busy with their everyday work. This will enable the residents to leave the home before the fire traps them inside.


    Residents can also then call the fire department and ensure that the fire is put out before it causes further damage to the home. As such a smoke alarm can save lives as well as money. It can also help residents put out the fire before important documents or treasured heirlooms are destroyed.

  2. 2.Testing Your Smoke Alarm

    Smoke alarms must be tested at least once a month. It is best to have a regular schedule to test it, say the first Saturday of each month, to ensure that it is not missed. Every smoke alarm in the house must be tested. This can be done by pressing the test button and ensuring that the alarm beeps. If it does not, you need to fix it so that it operates. It is important to note that a smoke alarm should never be tested by bring a flame or heat source near the alarm. Older people and those with disabilities who cannot reach the smoke alarms with ease can consider getting special smoke alarms installed. These can be tested by shining a torch on them.


    When you are testing the smoke alarm you should be wearing hearing protection. Smoke alarms are not quiet and this is obvious why they are not. You do not want to damage your hearing while conducting this test, certainly not when testing this devices means your head and ears have to be within a couple of fee from this device.

  3. 3.Changing the Batteries

    Often a smoke alarm does go off when tested or when there is a fire because its batteries have run down. This can be fixed simply and inexpensively by changing the batteries. Just unscrew the smoke alarm and replace the batteries. Once the alarm is screwed back, you need to reset the alarm and test it. To reset the alarm you need to press the reset button. This will ensure that the alarm will only beep when it senses smoke.

  4. 4.Replacing Your Smoke Alarm

    Most smoke alarms last only ten years. Others fail even before that. If your smoke alarm does not function even after the battery has been changed, you need to replace it. If the alarms in your home are ten years old, you should replace them simultaneously. Additionally, you can mark the replacement year on one, so that you will be able to track its durability and know when to replace it next. When replacing smoke alarms, consider installing alarms in every floor of a multi-story home. You should also add alarms to bedrooms where the user sleeps with the door shut.

  5. 5.Install a Smoke Alarm with Pro Referral

    If you are ready for an smoke alarm installation project, contact Pro Referral to find a quality pro in your area to discuss the job. All our pros have been background checked and our in-house staff has verified their credentials and insurance coverage. Hiring a trusted pro with Pro Referral will give you the assurance the job will be done right, every step of the way.

As a home owner, you need to take adequate precautions to protect your family and property. One of the easiest way of saving lives in the event of a fire is to have adequate smoke alarms installed all over the house. The smoke alarms will alert all residents in the event of a fire and ensure that they can leave the house safely. Additionally, a smoke alarm alerts you about the fire in time for you to put out the fire or call a fire station before the fire causes extensive damage to your property. Apart from saving lives, smoke alarms can also help you rescue import papers, documents, and treasured mementoes and pictures. For this you need to not only install fire alarms in many areas of the house but also test all of them each month to ensure they work.


Fire alarms are inexpensive, at less than $10 a piece, and can yet save a large number of lives. However, they need to be tested regularly and their batteries changed when needed. Moreover, the alarm itself needs to be replaced every ten years to ensure that they function optimally and save lives when they are needed and supposed to come through.


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