Annually, individuals lose their lives due to non-functional smoke detectors during a fire. Often caused by a lack of Smoke Alarm Maintenance, which could consist of depleted batteries (or removal of batteries to prevent false alarms), the detector being outdated, or its placement in a location where occupants couldn’t hear the alarm. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to inspect your detectors and swap them out if required. Furthermore, we’ll educate you on the latest technology advancements in smoke detectors, which have significantly improved in recent years, empowering you to select the most suitable detectors to safeguard your household and loved ones.
The Importance of Regular Smoke Alarm Maintenance – Do They Work?
Testing your smoke detectors to ensure they are functioning properly is a straightforward process. Simply press the test button and listen for the alarm to sound. If the smoke detector is powered by a battery and doesn’t sound, replace the battery and test it again. For hardwired units that do not work, immediate replacement is necessary. In cases where the smoke detectors do sound, it is important to check the label for the date of manufacture to determine when they will need to be replaced.
It is important to note that smoke detectors are only effective for a period of 10 years. While some detectors emit an end-of-life chirping sound to indicate replacement is needed, others fail without warning. To determine whether your detector needs to be replaced, inspect the outside for a “replace by” sticker. If there is none, rotate the detector’s body and detach it from its base to look for a date on the inside label or embossed in the plastic. If the detector is over 10 years old or does not have a date code, it should be replaced immediately, regardless of whether it passed the button test.
Hard Wired Smoke Alarms vs Battery Powered – Which One Is Better?
Although battery-powered smoke detectors are relatively easy for homeowners to install themselves, there are specific circumstances in which they are not permitted by law, and instead, hardwired smoke detectors must be used. It is essential to comprehend the distinctions between the two types of smoke detectors and when each is appropriate prior to installation.
What is a hard wired smoke alarm?
A hardwired smoke detector is a type of fire alarm that is directly connected to a domestic dwelling’s 240-volt electricity supply. Since electrical wiring is necessary, these detectors cannot be installed through DIY methods and must always be installed by a certified electrician. Hardwired smoke detectors come equipped with an internal battery backup system that ensures uninterrupted power supply in the event of a temporary outage to the household’s mains electricity supply, such as during a power blackout caused by severe weather.
When there is more than one hardwired smoke detector present, they must be interconnected to one another. This can be accomplished in two ways. The first method involves running physical cabling between each detector in the ceiling space. The second method involves using a radio frequency (RF) transmitter to achieve wireless interconnectivity between the detectors.
When must I install a hard wired smoke detector?
Are you constructing a new home?
If you are constructing a new home then hard wired smoke detectors are required as part of the building approval process – Queensland Building Regulations 2021 (part 4) and the National Construction Code (NCC 2019 volume 2 part 3.7.5) detail minimum necessary building standards, including those for fire safety and smoke alarms.
Queensland’s Building Regulations 2021 state that when constructing a new home, the smoke detectors must be hardwired to the domestic dwelling electricity supply; and must be interconnected to every other smoke detector installed in the dwelling.
Are you performing a substantial renovation?
Division 5A (section 104RBA) of the QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 states that hard wired smoke detectors must be installed when a substantial renovation is being performed to an existing dwelling.
A ‘substantial renovation’ is defined as building work carried out under a building development approval, or the total building works equaling 50 per cent of the dwelling over three years.
Are you replacing an existing hard wired smoke alarm?
Division 5A (section 104RC) of the QLD Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 states that if the smoke alarm being replaced was hardwired to the domestic dwelling electricity supply, the replacement smoke alarm must also be hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply. A smoke alarm must be replaced if it fails to operate or is older than 10 years from the manufacture date (the manufacture date is on the back of the alarm).
I’m not sure – I just want to be safe!
If you’re not sure and want to consult a professional, please contact our professionals at Glasshouse Home Safety Smoke Alarms today at 1300 856 263