Anti-slip flooring? Security systems? RCD circuit protection? They’re all an essential part of home safety – but perhaps none of them do a better job at looking after your home and family than those sophisticated modern smoke alarms. But whether you’re a believer in the ever-stricter smoke alarm laws or not, it’s actually completely irrelevant, because they are mandatory all across Australia. That puts the responsibility on your shoulders to ensure not only that those smoke alarms are where they should be, but that they’re also fully operational at all times. So when was the last time you performed a smoke alarm test?

Read more: Exclusive Q&A About The New Smoke Alarm Legislation QLD

Well, here’s the good news: learning how to test smoke alarm devices in this country is far easier than you might imagine. And no, contrary to what some may think, there’s no need to buy a can of smoke to test smoke alarm technologies at your place. Let’s take a deep dive into the simplicity of smoke detector testing:

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Pressed the test button on your smoke alarm lately?

Sure, you could just buy a smoke alarm test spray – a simple aerosol product that mimics the sort of smoke particles that send your smoke alarms wild. And sure, that’s a good real-world test of whether your smoke alarm is poised and ready to save your life and home. On the other hand, you could just learn how to test a smoke alarm the really easy way:

1. Locate your smoke alarms

This might sound easy, but bear in mind that just about all Australian standards these days recommend or require smoke alarms to be on every level of your home – as well as in bedrooms and hallways leading to sleeping areas. And they all need to be tested.

2. Check the manufacture date

Before you hit that test button of your smoke alarm, check those alarms for their manufacture date. Generally, if you don’t do it earlier or the regulations don’t call for it, smoke alarms need to be replaced every ten years these days – even if they seem to be working perfectly well.

3. Perform a visual inspection

Look carefully for any visible signs of damage or obstruction that could impair the smoke alarm’s functionality. Also, ensure the unit is clean and free from dust and spider webs.

4. Hit that smoke alarm test button

You may have guessed it by now, but it could hardly be simpler to press the button marked test in some way on the smoke alarm itself. It should, if working correctly, emit a loud beep or another high-pitched alarm sound, indicating that the battery and the sound mechanism are working just fine. If you press it and nothing happens, try hitting it again and holding it down for a few seconds before letting go.

5. Do the smoke alarm test spray (optional)

Ok, so we said it wasn’t necessary – but sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. So if you don’t trust the test button, fork out a few dollars for what some people think is a can of smoke to test smoke alarm devices. Actually, it’s just an aerosol concoction that simulates smoke conditions – but either way, just spray it in the general direction of the smoke alarm and it should think a serious fire is brewing.

6. Check interconnected alarms

To get that smoke alarm compliance certificate in most Australian states these days, the system at your place needs to be interconnected (which may require you to install photoelectric smoke alarms). That means that when one alarm triggers, all the others in your house also go wild with the high-pitched screeching. If only one goes off but the others don’t, something’s up.

You’ll either need to pull out the user manual – or simply call your friendly local electrician for help figuring out why your alarms aren’t communicating with each other.

7. Replace batteries annually

Question: How often should you test your smoke alarm? Well, whether your smoke alarm testing ended with a positive result or not, it’s good practice to change any battery-powered smoke alarms each and every year at about the same time. Your modern batteries should last a lot longer, but this is a cheap and easy way to be sure. And hit that smoke alarm test button once you’re done to double-check!

8. Keep a log

If you really want to be super-duper safe, keep a log so you can record the results of each test – including the date and any maintenance actions you take. It may seem like overkill, but it can be really helpful as your memory fades and you chat about smoke alarm maintenance and repairs in the future.

Read more: New Smoke Alarm Legislation NSW – Our Exclusive Q&A

Smoke alarm test all done? Here’s what’s next

Did you know more Australians are killed in residential fires each year than through other natural hazards? That aside, you also need your smoke alarm compliance to be fully up-to-date to avoid legal and insurance consequences, so if your smoke alarm test left you worried, why not give Tradie Near Me a try?

Our unique platform connects busy homeowners just like you with verified and genuinely recommended local tradespeople who specialise in the full scope of services – including electrical safety and smoke alarm maintenance. Easy find a trusted professional close to you who can inspect, maintain, repair or upgrade your smoke alarms, ensuring they meet Australia’s stringent safety standards and provide you with peace of mind. You’re only a few clicks away from a Tradie Near Me-connected professional, so give it a try today.

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