Smoke Alarm Solutions for Australia
Our aim is to help inform Australian household owners to protect their biggest investment; their home (or investment property). Working smoke alarms save lives – if your smoke alarm doesn’t work, your chances of surviving a fire dramatically decrease.
Did you know there are over 10,000 house fires in Australia per year?
Smoke alarm legislation
It is a legal requirement that any house built after 2007 must have a mains powered smoke alarm.
Any house bought or sold after 1st October 2009 must have a mains powered smoke alarm.
Only a licensed electrician can install a 240v hard-wired smoke alarm and they must be replaced after 10 years. There are things you can do yourself to save some money; explained below.
Is your house safe?
There are many rules and regulations for smoke alarms. In many cases your best bet is to get a licensed Electrician to check your property, some common traps that home-owners fall into are:
- assuming a smoke alarm is mains powered when it is in fact battery powered. Look for a green light on your smoke alarm to show it’s connected to 240v mains power.
- a smoke alarm connected to a security system isn’t installed in the correct location.
- thinking a smoke alarm isn’t a necessity or a requirement.
Smoke detector types
The two major types of smoke alarms in Australia are Photoelectric and Ionisation
The main differences between the two are they way they detect smoke.
Ionisation smoke alarms detect a fire using ‘smell’, once the fire is into it’s flaming stage. This is the most common type installed in Australian households.
Photoelectric smoke alarms are able to detect slow burning, smouldering fires using ‘sight’, meaning they activate sooner – giving you more time to escape. This is the recommended smoke alarm, but they can be more expensive.
Other less common types of smoke alarms include:
- Carbon monoxide
- Alarms for the deaf and hearing impaired
- Special models for kitchens and relocatable homes
- Heat alarms
A dual sensor smoke alarm is ideal, with ionisation and photoelectric sensors in them – protecting you in both fast flaming and slow smouldering fires.
Different powered smoke alarms include:
- a standard smoke alarm with only a battery backup (in houses built before 2007)
- mains powered with battery backup. Home-owners will require an Electrician to install a smoke alarm after purchasing one from their local hardware store, as recommended by the store; unfortunately, many local hardware stores do not carry smoke alarms that can be hard wired into mains power.
- mains powered with a rechargeable battery, meaning there is no longer a need to replace the battery every year. They also prevent batteries being taken out of smoke alarms to silence them. Recommended for investment properties.
- 10 year lithium battery smoke alarms, used in situations where other smoke alarms are impractical to install.
Installation & location of smoke alarms
How many smoke alarms do I need?
Where do I install smoke alarms?
Once you have selected which type of smoke alarm you want, you now need to know how many you require and where to install them.
As a minimum, every house being sold or rented must have a working hard-wired smoke alarm within a few meters of each bed room. If you have both bedrooms right next to one another, one smoke alarm is sufficient. For multi story buildings you will need to have a hard wired smoke alarm on each floor.
If your ceiling is made of concrete, you are allowed to use 10 year lithium smoke alarms.
The more smoke alarms you have, the better. It is recommended you have a hard wired smoke alarm in each bedroom along with the access passages to the sleeping areas (hall ways)
As of 1st of May 2015 any new dwellings approved for construction must have smoke alarms that are interconnected. Smoke alarm interconnection means that if one smoke alarm detects smoke all the other smoke alarms that are interconnected will sound their alarms too.
Maintaining Smoke Alarms
With a few easy steps you can keep your smoke alarms in good condition to keep you and your family safe.
- It is recommended that you test your smoke alarm monthly, using the test button.
- You should be replacing your battery every year. In WA, April Fool’s Day (April 1st) is the day to remember to change your battery.
- Every year, give each smoke alarm a quick vacuum to remove any build-up of dust – it will improve the alarm’s ability to work.
- Lastly, replace the whole smoke alarm every 10 years. Usually each smoke alarm will have an installation date on the alarm itself or at the switchboard .
If you have a smoke alarm in the kitchen, be sure to ventilate the room well whilst cooking.
Don’t install smoke alarms near the bathroom, laundry or temperature control devices such as fans and heaters.
Smoke alarms beeping
Firstly, change the the battery. If it continues to beep after a few minutes, there is a fault with the smoke alarm and it will need replacing – only a licensed Electrician can do this.
For further info:
NSW: Fire & Rescue NSW
ACT: ACT Fire & Rescue
If you have any questions, please contact Vested Utility or leave a message in the comments box below