Smoke alarms are not one of the most talked about topics of today, but they are one of the most important. Having adequate working smoke alarms in your home must be a top priority. When you are asleep or away, smoke alarms give you and your home a good chance at avoiding a potentially traumatic fire hazard.
It is also a legal requirement for you to have working alarms in your home. Smoke alarms detect smoke if a fire were to break out during the night and can potentially save your life. So, it is no wonder Australia has made smoke alarms a mandatory measure.
Let’s dig deeper into why you should have smoke alarms installed.
Why smoke alarm installation?
As we have just discussed, it is a legal requirement for you to have smoke alarms installed in your home. Homes constructed after 1st August 1997 must have smoke alarms connected via the 240V mains power with a backup battery. Homes built before that date may have alarms powered by a 9V battery only. However, CFA (Country Fire Authority) recommends using long-life lithium batteries.
Smoke alarms should also be interconnected so that when one alarm activates, all smoke alarms sound. Interconnected smoke alarms are either hard-wired or wirelessly interconnected and powered by a ten-year lithium battery. Hard-wired smoke alarms must only be installed by a professional electrician.
And as for the obvious, fire alarms give you peace of mind and protect your family and assets from fire. But to ensure you get the best use of your smoke alarms you must be strategic about where you install them. Read on for the best smoke alarm installations in your home.
Where to install your smoke alarms
You want everyone in the house to hear your smoke alarms when they activate, so make sure you spread the alarms well throughout the house. If your home is multi-storey have the alarms installed on every floor. There should be one in/outside each bedroom as well as living areas and hallways.
And as addressed earlier, it is a good idea to link your alarms so that when one is triggered the others sound and everyone will hear them and take action. Also, professionally installed hard-wired smoke alarms are least likely to malfunction.
The alarm itself should be installed on the ceiling at least 30cm from the wall, but if fitted to the wall it should be 30cm away from the ceiling to avoid dead air space.
And since we have talked about where to install your smoke alarms, let’s now look at where not to install them. As regular false alarm activation can encourage homeowners to disable the smoke alarms, it is important not to install them in or near the kitchen because they are likely to be set off by smoke or steam from cooking.
Other areas to avoid include the bathroom and laundry where there can be a lot of steam, and close to fireplaces, water heaters and space heaters.
Smoke alarm types
There are different types of smoke alarms. Read below to see what option best suits you and your home.
- 9V battery smoke alarms
9-volt battery smoke alarms are your cheapest option but they do not have any fail-safes if the battery fails or dies. They require no cables and can be installed in any location. However, because the battery is the alarm’s only power source, it must be changed at least once a year. There is no backup if the battery dies or fails.
- Hard-wired smoke alarms
Hard-wired smoke alarms are connected to the 240V mains power and also have a backup 9V battery should the power go out. With these smoke alarms you have two sources of power, meaning they are far more reliable than the 9V battery smoke alarm. However, you still need to replace the battery every year.
- 10 year Rechargeable Lithium ion battery smoke alarms
Do you want to avoid the trouble of changing your 9V smoke alarm batteries every year? With the 10 year rechargeable lithium ion battery, you can. The rechargeable lithium ion battery lasts for the whole ten-year life of the smoke alarm.
Kenner Electrics recommends the hard-wired and lithium ion backup battery option because it is hard-wired to the mains power and has the rechargeable lithium ion battery as backup. The upfront smoke alarm installation cost might be slightly more but consider the savings you will have in battery costs.
- Ionisation smoke alarms
Ionisation smoke alarms are still the most common smoke alarms in Victoria simply because they have been around longer than the photoelectric models. They detect small smoke particles caused by the fast-flaming and clean burning fires of kitchen oil fires. However, when the fire is slow to burn, ionisation alarms are less likely to detect it in its early stages. And as we know, early detection is vital.
- Photoelectric smoke alarms
The photoelectric smoke alarm is newer technology. It uses the reflection of light to identify smoke particles that enter the alarm chamber. Photoelectric alarms are more effective at detecting slow-burning, smoky and smouldering fires and most house fires start off this way. Both the MFB (Melbourne Fire Brigade) and CFA recommend this type of alarm.
Kenner Electrics recommends and installs photoelectric smoke alarms as they are more effective at early detection of common household fires.
Why choose professionals to install your smoke alarms?
Kenner Electrics is a team of skilled, licensed electricians in Melbourne that deliver prompt, professional electrical services in both commercial and residential properties around Melbourne.
Your safety is very important to us and ensuring your smoke alarms are up to date with the regulations is imperative. We offer professional installation of new alarms and electrical safety inspections to ensure your family and home are safe.