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How To: Test your smoke alarm

A smoke alarm is essential to protecting your family and home at all times. While you don’t want to wait for a fire to start in your home to see if it’s working, you should conduct routine checks to ensure it will work should a fire occur. Follow our guide to testing your smoke alarm. If you need help, reach out to our directory of handyman professionals! They’re the experts in all things home.

Determine what kind of smoke detector you have

If you’ve been living in your home for a long period of time and haven’t experienced a fire, that’s great news! But that also means you haven’t had to rely or worry about your smoke alarm failing during an emergency.

It’s time to get up on a ladder and inspect your current unit. There are two kinds smoke alarms:

  • Battery-powered. These units are easy to install and typically require a couple of batteries, but frequent checks since they expire.
  • AC-powered. This unit is installed by an electrician and is powered by the unit source. However, it should be connected to a back-up battery in case the power goes out.

Try the test button

All smoke alarms and detectors have a test button that enables you to test out the unit and make sure it’s in working order in the event of a fire. Some units also have a light that indicates it’s powered and working.

It’s our recommendation that you make a point of climbing a ladder or chair once a month to test the unit by simply clicking the test button.

Not hearing a sound? That’s a clear indication the batteries are dead and need to be replaced. If you’ve already replaced the batteries and the sound isn’t working, the unit should probably be replaced.

That’s why it’s important to keep the phone number for a handyman professional in your back pocket! This way, you can reach out to an expert immediately.


Replace the batteries often

Even if you test your unit regularly and it’s in working order, it’s not uncommon for you to get busy and forget to do a check-up. Instead of waiting for the batteries to die, be proactive and replace them a few times a year. Schedule this change when you do outdoor maintenance, like in the spring and fall seasons. Make it part of your routine check-list.

Test out the unit

Just because the batteries are working doesn’t mean the smoke alarm will operate when called upon. To find out if it’s working, take two lit matches, blow out the flame, and hold them up to the unit so the smoke clouds around it. If there’s no action, then it’s time to consider having your unit replaced by a handyman.

Keep your home and family safe at all times by doing routine checks around your home. They could save your life one day.

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