Smoke Detector Sensitivity Testing

Smoke detectors are incredibly important tools in fire prevention. But just because you have smoke detectors installed does not necessarily mean your business is safe. Over time, smoke detectors can become less sensitive, which renders them ineffectual. NFPA 72 requires that smoke detectors are regularly tested for both functionality and sensitivity. Here are the requirements for smoke detector sensitivity testing:

• Must test that each smoke detector is within its listed and marked sensitivity range
• Must use UL-approved testing equipment (Underwriter Laboratories)
• Required to do sensitivity test within 1st year of install
• Every 2 years after
• Every 5 years after the 5th year

Smoke Detector Sensitivity Testing Equipment:
There are a few options when it comes to smoke detector sensitivity testing equipment, but the industry standard is Trutest.

• Manufacturer-approved method of sensitivity testing
• Measures true sensitivity of a detector head with a controlled amount of smoke pumped through its system, introducing into the detector
• Capable of testing both Photoelectric and Ionization detectors
• Battery-operated and portable
• Comes with all accessories needed to perform sensitivity tests on detectors: main control unit, head, (2) different size extension cables, and charger.
• Self-calibrates before every test.
• Results shown in %/Ft.

What If Smoke Detectors Are Outside of Their Sensitivity Range?
If smoke detectors are tested and found to be outside of their listed and marked sensitivity range, they must be cleaned and re-calibrated or replaced OR if they are field adjustable, they are permitted to be field adjusted within the listed and marked sensitivity range. (NFPA 72-2016

How Can Ryan Fireprotection Help?
Ryan Fireprotection can conduct smoke detector sensitivity tests for your business. In addition, Ryan Fireprotection installs fire alarm control panels that perform automatic sensitivity monitoring. This eliminates the need for costly individual detector sensitivity testing. The fire alarm panels we offer can generate a report and/or display a visual “pass/fail” indication for each detector.

Jul 13, 2020 | Inspection and Testing

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