How to Test, Inspect, and Maintain Your Fire Alarm System

May 28, 2019

Fire alarm systems should help protect your home. But, you can’t tell if they are operational by looking at them. Like any other system, electronics can degrade with time and no longer can be reliable. Let’s look at how we can make our fire alarm system for your home work.

Dust, dirt, along with other contaminants may cause problems with smoke detectors. Vandalism, remodeling, and processes may harm fire protection gear. The good thing is with appropriate testing and maintenance, you can keep your fire alarm system in operating performance. Additionally to ensure protection, keep your system in great condition reduces costs by preventing repairs and false alarms in the household.

Where to start out

Knowing the system’s age and maintenance history help you determine the actions you need to take to maintain its operational readiness. Systems below five years old need little effort to preserve. In systems so new, issues are generally due to a marginal installation like improper grounding or environmental factors like voltage transients.

Periodic system testing and examination by qualified specialists can detect other problems. Systems between ten and five years old might experience component breakdown caused by severe, but ordinary, environmental factors. Voltage fluctuations, temperature, and humidity can cause system failure or annoyance alarm problems. Systems between ten and 15 years old may provide life safety response.

Systems in this class need close attention, even with appropriate maintenance processes in place for your home. In case the system had a history of bad maintenance or none in any way, it’s very likely that failure of components and monitoring of components of the system will occur.

Systems approaching 20 years old can be beyond their life expectancy that is technological. The system will continue to work if preserved, but you need tests and looked by specialists to ensure appropriate system response will happen in a crisis for your home.

The measures

The maintenance actions for fire alarm systems may be summed up in five measures.

Test and calibrate alarm detectors, like fire and smoke detectors, per manufacturer’s specifications. This requires knowing about the various detectors, and their testing requirements, failure modes, and re-install requirements.

Simulate inputs and test the annunciators

This requires a specific knowledge of the system under test. Establish sensitivity. This necessitates an understanding of the particular system, the specific application, and fire detection theory. Coordinate with fire department to test the input to their system. Check the battery for corrosion and end date, then take proper action, if necessary.

For kitchen and hallway locations near bathtub areas, stick with photoelectric sensors only. They can handle steam and cooking smoke without triggering alarms.

Standards and guidelines

Most system manufacturers recommend a minimum of one complete yearly test and examination after initial installation & acceptance. Different agencies, organizations, and local governments recommend mandate testing periods.

The National Fire Protection Association supplies the National Fire Alarm Code, NFPA 72.

This standard applies to the application, installation, functionality, and maintenance of protective signaling systems and their components. Chapter Seven is dedicated to examination, testing and maintenance. A table contained in a document of several pages and contains generators, batteries, port equipment, along with other aspects of fire detection and fire alarm systems.

The local authority with jurisdiction and insurance agencies set criteria for the good performance of life safety systems. Guidelines which transcend NFPA guidelines.

The criteria outline requirements

The potential issue is that not all fire alarm systems are subject to the same environmental and ambient conditions. So, meeting minimal criteria of all applicable codes and standards might not offer the optimal protection for a center. Due to this, producers service organizations urge inspections and maintenance that transcend guidelines and published standards.

Be safe in your residence at all times.

Contact ASI today to schedule an inspection of your alarm system at 253-770-5570 or


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