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Best Practice for Testing Smoke & CO Detectors


Thousands of fires occur in Alberta every year. Our homes, schools, businesses, and industrial plants are all subject to this danger if the proper care isn’t taken. Unfortunately, two of the most important safety devices are often two of the most forgotten. We are, of course, referring to smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. In this article we are going to go through the proper techniques for testing these alarms and ensuring that they are in good working order when you need them the most.

Smoke Alarms

  • Low Batteries: If your alarm starts chirping in the wee hours of the morning, chances are that your batteries are running low. Conduct a test by simply pressing the “test” button. After a few seconds, you should hear a loud piercing siren. If not, you need to change the batteries. Don’t be fooled into thinking your batteries are fine if the chirping doesn’t persist during the day. This is only because cooler temperatures are harder on a battery than the warmer clime of the day. If you want your smoke detector to work at every hour, be it twilight or daylight, you’ll need to test those batteries.
  • Detecting Smoke: Most people don’t realize that the “test” button on their devices only checks whether the batteries are working. Another important step in testing your smoke alarm is seeing whether or not it actually detects smoke. For some of us, we know our detectors are working every time we cook, or rather burn, bacon. This type of test, sometimes referred to as crisis testing, is a lot like that. Light a candle or incense stick and hold it about a foot below the detector. If you hear alarms, your device is working!

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Testing your carbon monoxide detector will feel very similar to testing your smoke detector. However, since you never want to release carbon monoxide into your home, you won’t be able to test much past the batteries. It’s always a good idea to call your home security company before testing and the place your alarm on “test mode” before you begin. Once this is complete, hold down the “test” button until you hear two beeps. Release your hold for a moment, then press down again until you hear four beeps. That’s it! After 10-15 minutes, your carbon monoxide alarm should return from test mode back to its original setting.

Even if your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have steady lights on at all times, make sure to check them regularly. If your alarms seem to be failing, have a professional come take a look right away. Contact us today!

Written by 4-Star Electric

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