Smoke alarm maintenance and installation tips for your home

Smoke alarm maintenance and installation tips for your home

Worried you haven’t installed your smoke alarm correctly? Concerned it’s not working as it should to protect your home and family?

Smoke alarm safety is crucial in keeping your home – and most importantly, you and your family – safe from fires.

Often fires pose the biggest threat when people are sleeping, as it’s harder to wake up from a strong smell than you might think.

Sound wakes you up instantaneously, which is why you must have smoke alarms that are fitted properly, free from faults, and regularly tested.

You always need to have up to date smoke alarms, so contact an electrician in the Northern Beaches for the best advice on smoke alarm safety today!

How many smoke alarms should you have in your home?

There are laws in New South Wales pertaining to where and how many fire alarms should be in your home.

They require you to install one alarm for every level of your home, including a livable attic or basement. If you have an out-house or bungalow, this space needs a smoke alarm, too.

You also need fire alarms for your caravans and campervans and all buildings you own but don’t reside in, such as holiday homes and investment properties.

Speaking of…

Am I responsible for fire alarms in my investment property?

New laws came into effect on 23rd March 2020 regarding a variety of domestic electrical services, including landlords and real estate agents’ responsibilities in maintaining fire alarms in rental properties.

In contrast, laws pertaining to homeowner-occupied fire alarms came into effect in 2006.

Landlords or real estate agents need to check fire alarms in all properties they attend to at least once a year.

Landlords or agents need to make sure smoke alarms get replaced within 10 years from when they were manufactured, NOT from when they are installed.

Additionally, landlords or agents need to make sure that batteries in fire alarms are replaced at least once a year, or in the period specified by the manufacturer, whichever time is more frequent.

Once a tenant informs a landlord or agent about an alarm with low or no battery, an alarm that is faulty, or an alarm that doesn’t meet the standard in some way, then they need to attend to it within two business days.

Landlords and agents must give at least two business days’ notice to inspect, repair or replace a smoke alarm.

Although there are no similar laws in place about how often homeowners should do all this for the home they reside in, it’s recommended they follow the same procedures.

If you need urgent smoke alarm installation or maintenance services, contact our electricians in Neutral Bay now.

Can one smoke detector set off another?

An interconnected smoke alarm system is one in which all alarms in a home are connected physically with internal wires.

This means that when one alarm detects a fire, all alarms will go off, not just the initial detector.

The benefit of this is simple: if there is a fire in the downstairs kitchen at night, you might not wake up from the downstairs alarm.

However when all alarms go off, particularly the one right outside your bedroom door, you are more likely to be alerted to the emergency!

Although it isn’t a law in New South Wales to have interconnect alarms, it is highly recommended by Fire and Rescue NSW, and it’s already a law in Victoria.

What can trigger a smoke detector?

Different catalysts can activate an alarm, such as:

  • Smoke
  • Flame
  • Heat

Note that some newer smoke alarms are also fitted with CO detection technology. Be sure you know whether your smoke alarm does, or if you also need a CO detector to detect Carbon monoxide in your home as well.

There are two common types of smoke alarms: photoelectric alarms and ionization-based alarms. Both of these detect different catalysts in different ways:

  • Photoelectric alarms detect (and in a sense, “see”) smoke
  • Ionization alarms detect combustion particles from flames (so they can “smell” smoke)

Ionization alarms are often associated with false alarms, making photoelectric alarms the preferred recommendation.

What can falsely set off a fire alarm?

Wind or any type of blowing can activate a fire alarm.

This is why smoke alarm installation shouldn’t happen near a heating or air conditioning vent or duct, or near a door leading to outside.

Where do I install fire alarms in my home?

It’s recommended fire alarms should be installed at least three metres away from bathrooms and laundries as moisture can damage the alarm.

Alarms should also be installed around six metres away from ovens, stove tops, and heaters.

This is so that they are not too close to appliances that can trigger fire alarms from general use.

What should I do to keep safe?

You need to test your alarm at least once a year.

To test your fire alarm, hold the test button down for a few seconds until it beeps. If you don’t hear a beep, contact an electrician in Manly right away who is adept in fire alarm maintenance.

You should also contact an electrician if you are not following any of the standards mentioned in this blog or if you are concerned.

On average, around 20 deaths occur in residential fires in NSW every year.

It’s estimated that between one third to a half of fatalities can be prevented if homes have working smoke alarms.

If your alarm ever chirps or goes off for no reason at all, it generally means it’s low on battery or needs replacing. It’s imperative that you don’t ignore this very clear warning sign!


Electrician in Northern beaches and North shore

Contact Plateau Electrical today for smart smoke alarm solutions

If you need an electrician in Lane Cove or anywhere else across North Sydney, contact Plateau today.

Our qualified team can service, check, repair or replace your smoke alarms to ensure the safety of your home and family.

Plateau Electrical covers all your domestic electrical services and we are open 24/7 for any kind of urgent matter.

Call us on (02) 9982 8668 or fill out this form today!