You may not think about your smoke alarm often but making sure it works properly is one of the most important things you can do in your home to keep your family safe. A working smoke detector is an integral part of your family’s fire safety plan and can help minimize injuries and damage from fire by alerting you early so you have time to act before the fire spreads.
Are you required by law to have a smoke detector?
All Canadian provinces require residential units to have smoke detectors and most provinces also require carbon monoxide detectors.
How to test your smoke alarm
Parts in the smoke detector can wear our or the batteries can die, and it needs to be replaced at least every 10 years. Make sure to test it once a month and replace the batteries every 6 months.
There are two types of smoke detectors – hardwired ones that are connected to the electrical system and have a backup battery and smoke detectors that are only powered by batteries. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing your smoke detector but most smoke detectors can be tested in the same way.
Tell everyone in the house that you will be testing the smoke alarm so it does not scare them and they are prepared for the loud, annoying sound it will hopefully make.
Ask family members to go stand in the furthest places from the smoke detector to see if it can be heard clearly there. Install additional smoke detectors in any areas where the alarm is too quiet.
Press the smoke detector’s test button and hold it. After a few seconds, the alarm should go off.
If there is no sound, it is weak, or it has been six months since you replaced the batteries, put new ones in.
Test it again to make sure it works with the new batteries.
Remove dust from its grates to help keep it functioning properly.
Did you know that your alarm system can reduce your home insurance rate?
When purchasing home insurance, homeowners look for the lowest rates, but many do not realize that they can reduce their premiums by installing an alarm system. Depending on the kind of alarm system it is and how effective it is, your home insurance rate could be reduced by 10-20% if you get one.
Is your smoke detector part of a local alarm system or a central alarm system?
A local alarm system has smoke and other alarms that activate a siren and sometimes lights. This type of system is not monitored by anyone but whoever is at home so it does not save much on home insurance but can save lives. If your smoke alarm is part of a local alarm system, consider upgrading to a central alarm system.
A central alarm system is monitored around the clock by your alarm company. It the alarm goes off they will call you to see if you need help and ask for your password if it was a false alarm. If you do not have the password or do not respond they will send emergency services. This type of alarm system will get you the largest discount on your home insurance policy.
Western Coast Insurance Services Ltd. is a wholly-owned division of Western Financial Group Ltd. Insurance products are underwritten by certain licensed insurance companies and are only
available throughout British Columbia, Canada.