When it comes to the early detection of a fire in your home, a smoke alarm is very important; it could mean the difference between life and death. However, only a properly working smoke alarm can give that early warning needed to save lives and prevent injuries. That’s why you should make sure that it is properly installed and maintained at your home.
Securing a smoke alarm for your home is best done with a smoke alarm installation service. To help you avoid failure in installing your smoke alarms or detectors, here are five tips to consider.
Understand how a smoke alarm works and its different types.
If you know the different types of smoke alarms, then you can determine which to use at home. This also lets you know how they work.
There are two types of smoke alarms: ionisation or photoelectric. An ionisation smoke alarm detects small and invisible particles (less than 0.001 mm in size) which are produced during flaming fires. Meanwhile, a photoelectric smoke alarm responds to visible fire particles (larger than 0.001 mm in size) that are common in the case of smouldering fires.
In terms of power source, smoke alarms can be powered by electricity, battery or a combination of both. If you opt for an electrically powered one, then consider getting a battery backup in case of power failures.
Know the current legal smoke alarm requirements in your area.
Knowing your local smoke alarm requirements can help keep your family and home safe from the dangers of fire. The laws may specify when a house needs a smoke alarm and other safety products.
In NSW, smoke alarms should be installed in all buildings where people sleep. According to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, these are the minimum requirements for the installation of smoke alarms:
- In any new buildings where people sleep, a smoke alarm must be installed in every hallway that’s associated with a bedroom or in the area of the building that has the bedroom/s.
- Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the house, even if there’s a bedroom on such a level. Also, they should be located in the path of escape.
This NSW legislation applies to owner-occupied homes, relocatable homes, rental properties, caravans and camper-vans or any other building where people sleep. For tenants, your landlord is responsible for ensuring that a smoke alarm is installed in your residence and it’s working properly. The law offers a minimum protection level, but the Fire and Rescue NSW recommends higher levels of protection to both owners and occupants.
Invest in a top-notch quality smoke alarm.
Smoke alarms can be photoelectric, ionisation, heat detector, dual or multi-detection or carbon monoxide alarm. It could be confusing to choose which to use and tempting to purchase something that can help you save money. However, it is important to consider not just the cost to supply and install a smoke alarm but also the value in terms of security, safety and well being.
For a reliable smoke alarm, make sure to get the one that meets Australian Standards 3786 (AS3786). It should have the following standard features: test button, hush button, battery test and more than one year of battery life. You may also look for other features like an insect screen, interconnection, feature for the hearing impaired and escape light which can provide you with a visible point of reference to help you escape through blinding smoke.
Install the smoke alarm at the right location of your house.
A smoke alarm must be positioned where it can detect smoke effectively and avoid environmental factors that can cause false alarms. Typically, smoke alarms are installed on the ceiling because smoke rises. However, very high ceilings can also pose problems for heat and smoke detectors as they make cleaning and maintenance difficult. Additionally, the heat rising from a fire can cool which may slow down the activation of a smoke alarm that’s mounted on very high ceilings. The smoke may also sit just below the ceiling without triggering the alarm.
Smoke alarms should also not be mounted in areas with dead air space, near the kitchens, bathrooms, laundries or fireplaces. These places can activate the alarms by steam and normal fumes. Likewise, avoid putting them near fans or air vents because the smoke could be blown away from the smoke detectors. Other places to avoid are those that can be prone to insects or dust.
Get a professional to do the work.
You shouldn’t take shortcuts when it comes to smoke alarm installation. Get an electrical contractor. It surely pays to hire professionals who know what they are doing and do it safely and quickly.
Letting a certified electrician install your smoke alarm may not be the cheaper option, but it’s better in the long term. It gives you peace of mind, knowing that they ensure an installation that’s completely compliant with all fire safety laws. They also use the correct type of smoke alarm that your property needs and install them at the right places.
Smoke alarms are crucial for the safety of your family and your home. Be sure to install them correctly so they can work at their optimal level. Doing so will also prevent annoying false alarms. Consider these tips when the need for smoke alarm installation arises.