Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works

Can I Reset a Smoke Detector using Magnets?

The bottom line is that you want to see what the panel does when a smoke detector senses smoke, and the panel has to be reset at the panel to see that the panel does show that a smoke detector works. Fires don't carry magnets, so magnets won't show that anything reacts with smoke.

Can I Reset a Smoke Detector using Magnets?

Greetings Douglas,

I work as a preventive maintenance representative for a fire alarm service company. Is it alright according to code to reset a smoke detector by a magnet or is it better to reset it at the control panel? If you can let me know and the reasoning behind the procedure, it would be appreciated.

Thank you, CS

As far as resetting smoke detectors, I know of no code telling you how to reset a smoke detector. Resetting is really up to the manufacturer.

However, when a smoke detector goes into alarm (I'm not talking about supervisory), it latches into alarm requiring reset, and at the same time causes the control panel to latch into alarm, also requiring reset. If the smoke detector is reset locally at the smoke detector, but the panel does not reset, the panel stays in alarm.

For test purposes, the first detector sets the panel into alarm, but the next detector tested will not set the panel into alarm because the panel is still in alarm. If you are testing just the smoke detectors and want to know whether they activate with a magnet, the use of magnets setting off and resetting the smoke detector is just fine.

If, however, you want to know if the smoke detector detects smoke, and how the panel responds when the smoke detector detects smoke, you test the detector with smoke (fires don't carry magnets) and reset the panel between each smoke detector tested.

Douglas Krantz
Life Safety
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