How to Test Smoke Alarms

Correct and regular testing of your smoke alarms is vital, and we want to help you ensure your home and loved ones are protected.

According to government statistics, in England between June 2020 and June 2021 the Fire and Rescue Service attended 149,779 house fires in England; of these, there were 249 fire-related fatalities.

Home life safety measures, such as regularly testing fire alarms, are key to tackling this staggering number.

In this blog, we are going to explore how to test your smoke detectors correctly, how often you should test them, discuss best practice and explain how many smoke alarms you should have in your home for the best coverage.

Testing your smoke alarms 

Before you begin, make your family or housemates aware that you are about to test your smoke alarms to avoid any panic.

If your alarms are interconnected, in the event of a test or a fire-related incident, all your smoke detectors will sound in unison. Unsure if your alarms are interconnected? You can find this out by performing the test or by asking your Installer.

First things first – do a visual check of your alarm. Mains-powered smoke alarms should have a solid green light to indicate the power is on, while battery-operated alarms should have no visible lights. If there are any coloured or flashing lights, or the unit is sounding in anyway, there could be several reasons for this:

  • Low battery
  • Low battery back-up
  • Dust build-up

For more information, please download the manufacturer’s instructions from our website or contact our helpful and knowledgeable Technical Team.

To test your smoke alarm, press the test/hush button on the unit for up to 10 seconds until the smoke alarm begins to sound. This tests the sensor, electronics and the sounder. The alarm will stop sounding when the button is released. Pressing the test/hush button simulates the effect of the smoke and/or heat and is therefore the best way to ensure the alarm is operating correctly.

For interconnected smoke alarms, test one of the units by pressing the test/hush button for 10 seconds. All the alarms in the system should begin to sound within 10 seconds of the first alarm sounding. After the test button has been released, the first alarm will stop sounding immediately, and the interconnected alarms will sound for a further 3-4 seconds. This feature is an audible verification that the interconnection is working correctly. Now, check all the other alarms in the system in the same way.

How often should you test smoke alarms?

We recommend that you carry out a full test of your smoke alarm system once a month, to ensure all your life safety products are working correctly. This echoes guidance from the British Standards BS 5839-6:2019+A1:2020.

All Aico alarms have a ten-year lifespan, saving you the hassle of replacing units or batteries every other year. It is a good idea, however, to know the date your alarms will need replacing so when the time comes you are prepared. To do is, simply check the side of the unit, all Aico alarms will have a replace by date sticker.

Smoke detector dos and don’ts 

Here are a few top tips to consider while testing your alarms:

Smoke detector do’s:

  • Consider having a family member on hand – this will make it easier to ensure your smoke alarms can be heard throughout the property.
  • Maintain your alarms regularly – we recommend cleaning alarms monthly to ensure they are free of any dirt, dust and debris.
  • Take a look at our handy how-to videos for more guidance.

Smoke detector dont’s:

  • Do not test your alarms using real smoke or fire. Our technology allows for testing that will simulate real smoke.
  • Avoid climbing on objects to reach any alarms that are too high. If your alarms are out of reach, you could consider installing one our easy-to-use control switches. Please find an Expert Installer from our website to discuss this further.

What smoke alarms would we recommend?

Your existing smoke alarm system will determine whether you need a battery of a mains-powered device – our Technical Team would be happy to assist you with this.

For mains-powered alarms, we would recommend the Ei3024 multi-sensor fire alarm, which is part of our flagship 3000 Series. This alarm features dust compensation technology that reduces nuisance alarms from dust build-up. The Ei3024 also allows for easy interconnection via hardwired or radio frequency options.

The multi-sensor alarm contains both an optical and a heat sensor, which works together to accurately detect all types of house fires.

If a battery-powered option is more suitable, the Ei650RF RadioLINK+ Battery Optical Alarm is the perfect fit. Built-in radio frequency technology means you can interconnect the alarm with your existing system quickly and easily.

It’s also important to ensure your smoke alarms are sited correctly. We always recommend following the British Standards, which advises that smoke alarms should be fitted in all circulation spaces such as hallways and landings, as well as the area used for general day time purposes, such as the living room.

A heat alarm should be installed in the kitchen. For mains-powered alarms, we would recommend the Ei3028 Multi-Sensor Heat & Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm, which includes a heat and Carbon Monoxide sensor. If you require a battery-powered unit, the Ei603RF RadioLINK+ Battery Heat Alarm is a suitable choice.

If you have any questions, please call our friendly and knowledgeable team on 01691 664100 or

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