What is a Smoke Detector?
A smoke detector is an electronic fire-protection device that automatically senses the presence of smoke, as a key indicator of fire, and sounds a warning to building occupants.
This is one of the most important things at home when it comes to our family safety. This gives us an early warning and also helps us to be alert on fire and dangerous smoke which gives us enough time to evacuate the place right away. But of course, we need to know the proper function of this device.
Both commercial and industrial smoke detectors are required on any buildings and establishments to make sure the safety of the occupants just in case a fire occurs. A smoke detector can be a battery-powered single unit or several interlinked hardwired (mains-powered) devices backed up by batteries.
Many complain of smoke alarm beeping as we covered in the previous article. In most cases, it needs a new battery but it is best to check it from time to time and test it keeping various factors in mind as discussed in this article.
Smoke Detector’s expert tester
When testing your smoke detector, it is highly recommended to look for an expert or a professional. Smoke alarm installation experts can help you with installation and testing. There are laboratories that are NATA accredited which are perfect to conduct the testing done in-house or in any external lab that has complete types of equipment for the testing. The experts make sure they follow all the smoke Alarm rules and if you are doing it yourself you can check out this smoke alarm rules Australia article for more info.
How to choose Smoke Detector
There’s a lot of smoke detectors in the market and it might get confusing. When choosing a product, it is best to make a survey on the most popular brands and look for reviews online. It is easier for you to have an idea of what to purchase. Also, if you have a list of the brands, you can ask for advice from the expert because they are the ones who have the knowledge on that.
Smoke Detector testing procedure
Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper way of testing the device. If your device is battery-powered or hardwired, it can be tested this way. Here are the steps on how to test your Smoke Detector device:
- Make sure that your family or every member of the household was informed that you will be testing the device. The alarm has these annoying high-pitched sounds that might frighten the small children, that is why it is important to inform them to avoid scaring them.
- While testing, the family members should position themselves somewhere away from the alarm but make sure that everyone can hear it everywhere in the place. You can also install extra detectors on the areas that sound so low.
- The next one is to press and hold the test button. It may take a few seconds to start, but a loud annoying siren may emanate from the smoke detector while pressing the button. If the sound is low and weak, just replace the batteries of the device. For maintenance, always change your batteries every 4 or 5 months. Also, do always check your detector to make sure that it is dust-free and clean, there should be no other substance that is blocking the grates of the device that may cause dysfunction of the device.
The normal life span of a Smoke detector is up to 10 years. So no matter how you maintain your device well, or even if it still works well, it should be replaced after 10 years or even earlier depends on the manufacturer’s instructions.
How often should a smoke alarm tested
The general rules about checking your smoke detectors are to test them weekly, clean them monthly and change the batteries twice a year (when changing the clocks for daylight savings/standard time).
Some DIYers end up placing their alarms in areas where steam and fumes are abundant, such as kitchens, fireplaces, and laundry areas. Lack of technical know-how and expertise also causes homeowners to place their smoke alarms near ventilation, which can minimize the efficiency of the sensors.
Smoke alarms are important factors when maintaining your home fire-free, or at least reduce the adverse effects if there any. As much as these sensors care for your house, they need maintenance, too. If you’re thinking about having a few units installed at home, check Homestars for a qualified electrician to do the work on your behalf.
You can also check out this article by Fire & Rescue gov site for more Smoke alarm FAQs.