There are two types of smoke detectors. Battery-operated detectors are inexpensive but require frequent battery inspection. They have a built-in device that chirps when batteries get low. AC-powered detectors are installed by an electrician and are more dependable in the long-term, but they should have an independent battery backup.
You can tell if an alarm is getting power by the blinking or the solid light that glows on its cover.
But, you shouldn’t wait until the alarm signals that the batteries need to be replaced. Only a properly functioning smoke detector can alert you to a potentially dangerous fire. Since it’s an electronic device, a smoke detector can fail. You need to test it regularly to make sure that it will work. All detectors have a test button that causes the alarm to sound when pushed.
Here are the steps to testing your smoke detector:
1. Push and Hold the Test Button
You might want to cover your ears for this part if you’re the one reaching for the test button. Once you’ve pressed it for a few seconds, it should make a loud noise. Walk around the house and listen for the beep. You should be able to hear it clearly from every room.
2. Test with a Spray Can
To simulate an actual fire, you’ll want to test the smoke detector with a spray can of test aerosol. Look for it in a home improvement store in Indy or on the internet.
Aim the spray can at the detector and spray its contents directly into it. A little bit will do. Within 5-10 seconds, you’ll hear the alarm go off. If it doesn’t, that’s your sign that the smoke detector doesn’t work.
One option is to change the batteries. They may be drained or damaged. Once replaced with new ones, test again and see if that fixes the unit. You can also clean the unit of potential dust that can block the openings and go through the spray test process again. If that doesn’t work, you need to replace the detector sooner rather than later.
3. Turn Alarm off
Once you’ve tested the smoke detector with a spray can, it may be still going off. Place a small vacuum or a vacuum hose below the detector and turn it on to remove all the spray particles.
All the smoke alarms in your Indianapolis home should be tested once a month. And every time your change the batteries, test the smoke detector again. To find out how many smoke detectors you need in your home, take this quick assessment.