Smoke detector Sensitivity testing

A lot of questions arise when smoke detector sensitivity testing is discussed or cited. There are a few key things

What is sensitivity testing?

Over time, smoke detector sensitivity can drift. They may grow more sensitive or less sensitive, but either way, this fluctuation in sensitivity can cause the alarm to be ineffective. Using detector testers to check the sensitivity is not only required by law but will also provide peace of mind that your smoke detectors are functioning properly.

Check with us to determine your current setup and functionality!

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Is sensitivity testing required?

Yes. Sensitivity testing must be performed per NFPA 72. However, depending on the type of detectors installed and the capabilities of the fire alarm control panel, it may not be needed.

NFPA 72-2016 (h)(4) states that “Smoke detector/control unit arrangement whereby the detector causes a signal at the control unit when its sensitivity is outside it listed sensitivity range” is an acceptable means of ensuring that each smoke detector is within its required sensitivity range. This means that physically testing each detector is not required.

Some newer fire alarm panels have this capability, while other types do not.

What is the frequency of testing?

Smoke detector sensitivity must be checked within one year after installation, then checked every other year. After the second test, if test results indicate that the device remains within its required sensitivity range, the length of time between tests is then permitted to be extended to a maximum of 5 years. (NFPA 72-2016 – 3)"