Smoke Alarm Testing

Testing your smoke alarm is the only way to guarantee that it is working. So how often do you test?

Smoke Alarm Annual Testing

If you test your smoke alarm annually then consider this scenario:

  • You test your smoke alarm on 1st January, Year 0 and it works okay
  • Your smoke alarm beeper develops an internal fault one day later on 2nd January, Year 0. It makes no sound so you don’t know that it has faulted
  • You test your smoke alarm on 1st January, Year 1 and realise that it is faulty

This means that had a fire develop in your home between 3rd January and 31st December, 363 days of Year 0, then your smoke alarm would not have sounded. Therefore your family / tenants would have been unprotected for 99.5% of the year! For this reason most fire authorities recommend smoke alarm testing monthly in order to identify faulty alarms soon after they fail.

Rental Property Smoke Alarms

Property managers, landlords and tenants have a legal responsibility to maintain and test smoke alarms in rented and leased dwellings. While requirements vary across residential tenancy authorities, smoke detectors should be maintained and tested by the landlord:

  • At the start of the lease
  • At renewal of the lease

And by the tenant:

  • Monthly

So even the bodies that look after unit / apartment / townhouse / house rentals have got the message that monthly testing should be performed.

Smoke Alarm Monthly Testing

You may think that monthly smoke alarm testing is excessive. The problem is that if there is a fire, there maybe a subsequent legal enquiry. So you will need to convince a judge that your thoughts regarding smoke detector testing carry more weight that the local fire authority.

To be honest, monthly testing of all of your alarms is difficult to achieve in the real world. To make it easier for you smoke alarm testing companies have sprung up to come to your rescue…for a fee. Of course they will still need access to your dwelling which can be inconvenient as well.

Imagine if you could install a smoke alarm that tested itself every month at a convenient time? If you were at home during the 5 second test it would reassure you without being annoying. If you were not home and the self test failed it would chirp regularly to warn of the failure. Now wouldn’t that be a safe, low cost and convenient solution?

So, if you want to increase safety, save money and simplify detector maintenance take a look at SmokeSight.

Published by Chris Devine

Chris is a Registered Practising Engineer of Queensland - RPEQ. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Associate Diploma of Electrical Engineering and is an Electrician.