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It’s fire season. Are your smoke detectors legally installed?

Summer’s here and that means the risk of fires dramatically increases.

Is your home, family and/or tenants properly protected? Don’t delay their safety! Make sure your smoke alarms are legally installed.

Here’s a quick guide to understand your responsibilities when it comes to installing smoke detectors:


What type of smoke detector should you choose?

There are two types of fire alarms, battery powered and hard wired.

The Fire & Rescue NSW recommends that a hard wired smoke detector should be installed wherever possible. This basically means that the smoke alarm connected to a home’s electrical system in addition to having a battery back-up power supply. The advantages of this system are:

  • It’s considered much more reliable due to the two different power sources (mains power supply plus the backup battery)
  • It provides an earlier warning so occupants are alerted about the fire in the shortest possible time
  • Alarms can be interconnected so that they sound simultaneously, helping to alert occupants in different areas of the house

A licensed electrician must always be used to install hard wired smoke detectors.

Where should smoke alarms be installed?

The smoke detectors should be installed in the most effective position of your house to pick up on smoke and avoid setting off false alarms.

It’s recommended that smoke detectors are installed in all bedrooms, living rooms, as well as in corridors between these areas and exits to the open air.


Source: Department of Fire & Emergency Services

It is especially important for smoke alarms to be installed in bedrooms where:

  • People tend to sleep with their doors closed (particularly if electrical appliances and heaters are used)
  • People smoke in their room
  • Loud electrical equipment like TVs, stereos, air conditioners or fans might mask the sound of a smoke alarm in another area of the house

If you have a multi-level house, you should have a smoke alarm installed on each level. The image below gives an indication of the recommended positioning of each smoke alarm:


Source: Department of Fire & Emergency Services

What other smoke alarm regulations do you need to comply to?

  • Only smoke alarms that meet Australian Standards AS3786 should be installed.
  • Smoke alarms must always be installed according to the manufacturers instructions.
  • All smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month.
  • The battery in each smoke alarm should be replaced at least once a year.
  • Alarms have a limited lifespan so should be replaced as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Smoke alarms must be cleaned regularly.

Want to discuss your smoke alarm legal requirements with a qualified electrician?

Call Maxx Electrical on 1800 4 POWER (1800 476 937).