How to Test Your Smoke Detectors

More and more homes around the world are installing smoke detectors to prevent accidents. This is because people are becoming more aware of the importance of safety for their families inside the home. These little devices can help you detect the presence of smoke in your home, and alert you to danger in time to vacate the building.

Unfortunately, many people install smoke detectors and then fail to maintain them. In order for detectors to work properly, it is essential to test them periodically to ensure they are still operating.

What Types of Smoke Detectors Are There?

Currently, there are two types of smoke detectors on the market: battery-powered and hard-wired.

  • Battery-powered: these detectors depend entirely on batteries, so a charging problem or defect can mean they stop working. You should always use new batteries for smoke detectors in order to avoid issues.
  • Hard-wired: this type of detector works with the house’s electrical system, although they will usually have backup batteries if there is a power outage in the house. These types of detectors should also be tested regularly to ensure proper operation.

Why is it Important to Test Smoke Sensors?

Any electronic device is prone to failures, and if we are talking about the security of our home, it is imperative to check these devices periodically. There are parts of the smoke detectors that wear out, such as the electrical connections, and if they are operated by batteries, these must be changed periodically. Good maintenance will ensure your family’s safety in case of a fire in your home.

How to Test Smoke Detectors

In 2006, the Australian government introduced legislation to regulate the installation and maintenance of smoke detectors. According to Fire and Rescue NSW, maintenance should be carried out as follows:

  1. Once a month, detectors should be checked to test that the battery and alarm are still working. This is done by pressing the test button.
  2. The smoke detector should be cleaned twice a year to remove dust and particles that may hinder its proper operation. This should be done with a vacuum cleaner.
  3. Once a year, you should change the batteries in your smoke detector. A good way to remember to do this is to associate the day with a notable holiday, such as New Year.
  4. Many modern smoke detectors use internal lithium batteries that cannot be replaced, in which case the entire unit should be checked and ideally replaced after 10 years.


Keeping your smoke detectors in working order is vital for the safety of everyone in your home. While it’s important to familiarise yourself with how to test and clean your smoke detector, many people prefer to get a professional in to make sure everything is ok. You can call a licensed electrician for proper smoke detector maintenance and testing.

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