<h2>About Smoke Alarms</h2>
Smoke alarm installation is essential in every home and business nowadays. Smoke alarms are also called smoke detectors, because they detect smoke and then alert you with the sound so that you can take action. They are small units that you can mount on ceilings, walls and in roof cavities. They can be battery powered, or else powered by the mains electricity. Although many people use the battery-powered ones, they can be problematic.
Smoke alarms come in two main technologies:
Ionisation alarms contain a tiny bit of radioactive material that enables the alarm to sense smoke.
Photo-electric alarms have an LED. The alarm responds if smoke interrupts the light beam.
Fire Services recommend the photo-electric alarms because they provide more time for people to escape from smoke or flames. Therefore they are considered the safer option.
<h3>What kinds of smoke alarms are there?</h3>
Here are a few main types for you to choose from.
<h4>Mains powered alarms</h4>
These are wired into the mains supply of the building.
They must be installed by a licensed electrician, who can ensure they comply with Australian Standards.
<h4>Battery powered alarms</h4>
This type is powered entirely by batteries. Thus you can locate them anywhere and install them yourself. However it is still a good idea to get qualified advice on location and maintenance.
Do you have a large or two-storey house or business premises? In these examples it can be difficult to hear a smoke alarm on the other side or floor of a building. The solution is to connect all the alarms on the premises into a network. That way, when one goes off they all go off. Then you can press a button to isolate the one that’s detected the smoke. People in the building will then know which way to run. Additionally, emergency services can zero in on the source of the problem.
<h4>Smoke Alarms for people with impairments</h4>
If you need smoke alarms for people who have hearing problems, there is an answer. There are smoke alarms that produce an extremely loud warning. In addition, alarms with flashing lights and vibrating indicators are available.
<h2>Smoke Alarm Installation and Testing</h2>
Mains powered smoke alarms should always be installed and tested by a licensed electrician. Your home, family, business, employees and visitors must be kept safe. Not only is this a duty of care, but it’s a legal responsibility for all home and business owners and householders in Australia.
<h3>Where should smoke alarms be installed?</h3>
You are advised to site smoke alarms in bedrooms, because sleeping people can miss knowing about an impending fire. This is especially true if heating devices or other electrical appliances are used in the bedroom. And of course if people smoke, alarms should be in every room in which they smoke.
In addition, alarms should be placed in the passages and stairways leading from bedrooms to the outside. This is because smoke may be building up in other rooms. It may not yet have reached the bedrooms. Therefore, in the event that smoke is detected, people can be alerted in time to leave quickly and get to safety. Take note that noisy environments may make it hard to hear the alarm, thus location is something to put thought into.
Smoke alarms are not so good in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries where there is a lot of heat, steam and vapour. These can trigger false alarms, and potentially damage the smoke detector. You can site the alarms outside those rooms in the hallways.
With these points in mind, you can take a good look around your house and work out a plan for locating smoke alarms. Call us to assist you, especially if you are installing mains-powered alarms.
<h3>What about testing of smoke alarms?</h3>
Smoke alarms should be tested at least once every month. This is to check that the battery has charge and the alarm sound works. They will generally beep intermittently if their batteries are getting flat. Refer to your manual. Replace batteries with the correct ones every year. Even though battery powered alarms do not require a licensed electrician to install or test, you’d benefit from seeking expert advice from time to time to check that all is in order. You’re legally obligated to get a licensed elctrician to install and test mains powered smoke alarms.
Professional Electrical can help you with all your smoke alarm needs.