Angie's How To Test Smoke and CO Detectors

Date Published: Nov. 12, 2019

Time: 15 Minutes

A smoke detector's job is complicated. Using an ionization chamber, it senses subtle changes in the electronic current of your air and alerts you of life-threatening situations. Your job is simple - make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. This simple task could save your life.

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1Locate control buttons

Find the "test" or "reset" button on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you are having trouble finding it, refer to the manufacturer's instructions.

2Test each device separately

How many smoke detectors do you have? It usually depends on the type and age of your home. They can be anywhere, so do a good search! Also, some systems are connected – meaning when one goes off they all do. But, in case not, be sure to test each one separately. Even if the smoke detectors are interconnected, you should still test each one to make when one goes off, it triggers the others.

3Press button

Press the button (Note: you may need a paper clip). If it goes off, your detector is working. The test usually runs about 30 seconds. If your detector does not work, try putting in new batteries. Repeat the test.

4Alarms going off

Warning: If the smoke detector is hooked up to your burglar alarm, then we recommend you call your provider in advance to alert them of the test.

5Purchase detectors

If you don't have smoke detectors in your home, read Purchase Smoke and CO Detectors.