When it comes to protecting a family or a home, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are two of the most important devices available. For this reason, checking these alarms when you are suppose it can be the difference between a close call or disaster.

People tend to overlook their importance and for that reason forget how or when to properly check. The sole person of this guide is to educate the importance of these devices and answer the question, “How do I check my alarms?”


Smoke Alarm

To run a basic test on a smoke detector, simply click on the test button that is present on a smoke detecting device. After a few second, the test will begin and you will know it is happening whenever you begin to hear a loud, piercing siren that comes via the smoke detector. This is the most basic way to check your smoke alarm and it should be done usually once a month.

A Smoke alarm can also have a crisis test performed. This involves using actual smoke to make sure that a system is operating correctly in action, rather than simply knowing that alarm batteries are working. Due to the potential safety hazards, crisis tests are encouraged not to be done when alone. Make sure someone else is there to assist in this test with a fire extinguisher nearby.

Performing a crisis test can be fairly simply. By lighting a candle, incense stick, or other burning material that will produce smoke, the test can be accomplished. When a steady smoke stream is held underneath a smoke alarm for a few seconds, it should sound. Make sure not to get too close to the alarm, because you’ll risk damaging the casing or the actual unit itself. 12 to 18 inches away from the unite should be just the right amount of distance. Make sure the alarm goes off in every room if you have an interconnected system and follow up with turning it off.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Testing your carbon monoxide alarm can be just as important, if not more so, than a smoke alarm. Carbon monoxide is colorless, tasteless and odorless so making sure your alarm is working is very important because you wouldn’t know if it wasn’t until it’s too late. Before testing, you’ll want to alert your home security company of the test and place your system on test mode so that the device does not cause a false alarm.


After making sure your security company has been notified, hold down the “test” button until you hear two beeps. Once you hear these beeps, you can release your finger. Now, redo these steps but this time, wait for four beeps before removing your finger. This way you know a signal was sent to your monitoring station. After 10 to 15 minutes, the alarm will return back to its original setting. If it remains in test mode, you’ll need to perform a power cycle. If the problem still continues, call your security company to discuss what else to do.

Checking your alarms is a very important procedure you don’t want to forget to do. As previously mentioned, both alarms should be checked once a month and batteries replaced twice a year. A good way to remember this process is to change the batteries every time your clocks are changed for daylight savings time.

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