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Don't forget about your home's smoke detectors.  They could be the most important safety equipment in your house.

Fire and smoke inhalation cause thousands of injuries every day, and your smoke detector offers a crucial early warning that will keep your family safe—possibly even save your lives—so it makes sense to make sure it's in good working order.

Why Testing Matters

Smoke detectors are fairly reliable, but like any piece of mechanical equipment, they're not infallible. Parts wear out and batteries die over time, so it's important to routinely test your smoke detector and replace its batteries. The recommended frequency for testing your smoke detector is:

  • Test every month

  • Change the batteries every 6 months

  • Replace the alarm system every 10 years

Types of Smoke Detectors

There are two main types of smoke detectors, both of which require routine testing.

  • Battery-powered smoke detectors are the type most likely to suffer from worn-out batteries. Testing is essential; and remember to never put old or used batteries in your smoke detector.

  • Hardwired smoke detectors are powered directly by your home's electrical system, but still need regular monthly testing because parts may malfunction, and the backup batteries that keep the smoke detector working during a power outage may wear out.

How To Test

Here's how to make sure your smoke detector is working properly. The steps are slightly different depending on which type of smoke detector you have in your home.

  • Battery-powered: Press the test button on your smoke detector and hold it down until the alarm sounds. The alarm indicates that the batteries are working. The sound should be loud and piercing. If it is weak or intermittent, the batteries should be replaced. Every six months, replace the batteries in your smoke detector even if the alarm indicates that they are still working.

  • Hard-wired: If your smoke detector only uses a battery only as a backup, remove the battery, and then turn off the circuit breaker that supplies power to the smoke detector. Press the test button while the power is off—the alarm should not sound—and then reinstall the battery and press the test button again. The alarm will sound if the battery is still good.

Knowing there's a smoke detector in your home may offer peace of mind, but just having a smoke detector isn't enough. It is essential that you continually make sure that it's working properly. You may never need it, but if you do you'll be glad you did.


Suzanne Brown Insurance Agency

A Texas Independent Insurance Agency with over 100 insurance carriers



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