When physical testing of each smoke detector is required, the frequency will depend on the date and the results of the last test.
NOTE: 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, you may be able to avoid the costly process of performing a sensitivity test at each detector. Read more about SMOKE DETECTOR SENSITIVITY TESTING REQUIREMENTS.
FREQUENCY OF TESTING
Smoke detector sensitivity must be checked within one year after installation, then checked every alternate year thereafter. After the second test, if test results indicate that the device remains within its listed and marked sensitivity range, the length of time between tests is permitted to be extended to a maximum of 5 years. (NFPA 72-2016 126.96.36.199.1 - 188.8.131.52.3)
Note: Read about nuisance alarms and records required in NFPA 72-2016 184.108.40.206.3.1 and 2.
WHAT IF 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 220.127.116.11.4-5)