In 2021, 22 people died in a house fire in Australia. And shockingly, more than half of these fires were at properties that didn’t have working smoke alarms.
This is why it’s essential you consistently check your smoke alarm and consider it the most important fixture in your home.
Can’t remember the last time your smoke alarm was tested or inspected? Our electricians in North Sydney can replace, clean, and check it out for you!
How do I know if my smoke alarm needs to be replaced?
Smoke alarms need to be replaced every ten years. This is because, just like every other electrical device, smoke alarms lose efficiency and agility over time.
Another reason they should be replaced this often is because of how quickly technology advances year by year.
Today there are two main types of smoke detectors: ionisation alarms and photoelectric alarms.
Ionisation alarms contain two plates that ionise air through radiation, when smoke enters the cavity between the plates, the ion count decreases, triggering an alarm.
Photoelectric alarms emit an invisible continuous beam which gets refracted via smoke, setting off an alarm.
It is recommended by our electricians in Chatswood that you have a photoelectric fire alarm because they:
- Detect fires more quickly
- Detect smouldering flames
- Are less likely to go off for false alarms, like burnt toast
If you currently have an ionisation alarm, you should replace it or install a photoelectric alarm and use both.
Many modern fire alarms also act as carbon monoxide detectors as well.
This is beneficial as carbon monoxide – which often gets dispersed via fuel-burning systems, such as cars or ovens – can get into your respiratory system causing detrimental health effects.
How do you test if a smoke detector is bad?
If your smoke alarm is less than ten years old, there are still some factors that may indicate the need to get the alarm or its batteries replaced.
Once a year you should be testing your smoke alarm to test if it needs new batteries.
To do this, hold down the button on the visible face of the alarm. If it beeps, you don’t need to change the battery; if it doesn’t then you need to replace the battery or the alarm immediately.
You also need to clean your alarm once a year. Since it detects flames, dust and bugs can clog up the sensitive sensors, thus impending detection. To clean, dismount it from your ceiling and vacuum the outside or wipe with a dry cloth.
Another way to know that your alarm is low on battery or faulty is if it chirps. This can happen throughout the day and can be quite a nuisance, encouraging you to get it checked out ASAP!
Contact an electrician in the Northern Beaches to assess your smoke alarm on an annual basis and ensure it is in correct working order.
Who is responsible for replacing smoke detectors?
It is the homeowner’s responsibility to check smoke alarms on properties they own, including those they are leasing to tenants.
When an alarm is found to be faulty, older than ten years, or contains a low or empty battery, the landlord or property manager must undertake smoke alarm replacement within two business days.
They also must ensure that the batteries are changed once a year, no matter what.
Tenants must notify their real estate agent immediately if they find that their smoke alarm isn’t working or is low on battery, and cannot physically change the battery themselves.
If you are renting an apartment or unit, then your tenancy agreement might indicate that it is the responsibility of the Body Corporate.
In these cases, check to see what is your responsibility and what is the responsibility of your Body Corporate or other parties.
What’s the difference between a hard-wired smoke detector and a battery-operated smoke detector?
If you’ve previously had hard-wired smoke alarm installation, then your alarm uses your home’s electricity to rely on operation.
Hard-wired smoke alarms also have a backup battery for instances where there is an electrical fault or electrical failure.
Hard-wired smoke alarms are the safer option over battery-operated alarms as they use more reliable energy. Importantly, they require the skill and experience of a qualified electrician to install, maintain, repair, or replace.
How can I keep my home safe from fires?
The safest way is for an electrician to regularly check your smoke detector
Your smoke alarm is your first and most critical line of defence when it comes to fire safety in the home.
We aim to make every Sydney house as safe as possible so they can avoid being a part of the devastating statistics.
In addition to smoke alarm safety, Plateau’s electricians in Sydney offer a range of home safety and improvement services, including:
- House electrical safety checks
- LED downlight installation
- Electric vehicle charging installation
- Underfloor ventilation
- TV wall mounting
- Pool light installation
- And more!