Why Upgrade Your Smoke Alarms?

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Why Upgrade Your Smoke Alarms?

Smoke alarms are a crucial part of every home’s safety system. In the event of a fire, smoke alarms can save lives by alerting occupants to the presence of smoke and allowing them to evacuate the building quickly. However, not all smoke alarms are created equal, and it’s important to upgrade your smoke alarms to comply with the new legislation recently introduced in Queensland.

New smoke alarms are designed to be more reliable and effective than older models. They are better at detecting smoke and other signs of a fire, which means they can alert occupants more quickly and accurately.

Knowing that your home is equipped with the latest smoke alarms gives you peace of mind, knowing that you and your loved ones are better protected in a fire.

The New Queensland Smoke Alarm Legislation

The new legislation requires all homes and units in Queensland to have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in every bedroom, in hallways that connect bedrooms and other parts of the dwelling, and on every level of the dwelling, including the basement. These smoke alarms must be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery. This has been in place for all new homes since 2017, for houses bought/sold or leased since 2022 and for all remaining houses from 2027. Failing to upgrade your smoke alarms could result in fines or other penalties.

If you want to know more and ensure that your home or property is compliant with the new Queensland smoke alarm legislation, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide that outlines everything you need to know. To access the guide, simply click the link below:

Guide: Are your smoke alarms compliant?

Are your smoke alarms compliant

Shortfalls of the Legislation

The new legislation is fairly comprehensive, and I haven’t heard of any other state or country having some things quite like this. It does well at covering bedroom areas where you want to alarm people, especially when sleeping. The function of the smoke alarm that hasn’t been considered is detection. If you were to have a fire, what area in your house do you think it would start? My guess is the garage or kitchen. In the garage are your car, battery chargers, solar battery, fuels and chemicals, all highly flammable things. In your kitchen, you have appliances, cooking oils and other things that can be flammable or a source of ignition.

Types of Smoke Alarms

There are 2 standard styles of smoke alarms we use; both are photoelectric type, but one is 240cv hardwired, and the other is powered by a battery only.

240v-Hardwired Smoke Alarms:

Reliability: Hardwired smoke alarms are connected directly to your home’s electrical system, making them less likely to experience battery failure or other issues that can compromise their reliability.

Interconnectivity: When one hardwired smoke alarm detects smoke, all of the smoke alarms in your home will sound the alarm. This provides an early warning in the event of a fire and can help ensure that everyone in your home has enough time to evacuate safely.

Professional Installation: Hardwired smoke alarms require professional installation by a licensed electrician. This ensures that they are installed correctly and that they meet all relevant safety standards.

240v-Hardwired alarms are always a more reliable option. Hardwiring increases the installation time but ensures correct function and operation of the alarms.

Battery-Powered Smoke Alarms:

Ease of Install: Battery-powered smoke alarms can be installed easily in situations where getting wiring can be difficult, leading to quicker installation times. 

Flexibility: Battery-powered smoke alarms can be installed in virtually any location. This is especially useful if you have a multi-story home or a home with very limited access.

Wireless Interconnectivity: These smoke alarms are equipped with wireless interconnectivity features that allow them to communicate with other smoke alarms in your home without the need for hardwiring. 

Battery-powered alarms offer more flexibility in terms of ease and time of installation. The cost for the convenience is more than what you can expect to pay for a 240v Hard wired alarm. The wireless interconnectivity is handy for multi-story installations but isn’t always as reliable as hard wiring.

How Photoelectric Smoke Alarms Work

These alarms detect smoke particles in the air. They work by emitting a beam of light and then measuring the amount of light that is reflected back. When smoke particles enter the chamber, they scatter the light, which triggers the alarm, making them ideal for detecting smouldering fires, which typically produce more smoke before bursting into flames.

In addition, they are less likely to be triggered by cooking fumes, steam, other ash sources or non-fire-related smoke, making them less likely to produce false alarms.

Fire Escape Plan

Be mindful that smoke alarms are not a substitute for a fire escape plan. Smoke alarms warn you i A fire escape plan outlines what to do in the event of a fire, including where to go, how to get out, and whom to contact.

Every household should have a fire escape plan and practise it regularly to ensure that everyone knows what to do in an emergency. My kids, who are 8, 6, 4 and 2, ask me to tuck them into bed during the day so we can practise escaping options!

Summary

  • Upgrading your smoke alarms is an essential step in ensuring the safety of your home and loved ones.
  • The new legislation in Queensland requires interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in every bedroom, in hallways that connect bedrooms and other parts of the dwelling, and on every level of the dwelling, including the basement. These smoke alarms must be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.
  • Choosing the right type of smoke alarm for your home is important to ensure that it provides reliable and accurate detection in the event of a fire.
  • Don’t forget to also have a fire escape plan in place and practise it regularly.

Smoke Alarm Services on the Sunshine Coast

Don’t wait until it’s too late to upgrade your smoke alarms and ensure your home is compliant with Queensland legislation. As a trusted provider of smoke alarm services on the Sunshine Coast, Tenmen Electrical can analyse your situation and provide you with the best cost-effective solution, whether you need to fix an issue, replace a battery, or change the whole system. Protect your loved ones and your property from the danger of fire by contacting us today.

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