A smoke detector—or smoke alarm—is designed to detect smoke, heat or fire and let off an alert signal (a loud alarm noise). Whether the smoke alarm is placed in the hallway, in bedrooms or on factory floors, Australian law specifies that commercial and residential rental properties must have smoke alarms installed. That’s why it’s very important to have working smoke alarms on your property.
Along with upgrading safety switches, your smoke alarms are probably the most important piece of safety equipment that you have in your home. Yet each year people still die in house fires.
They die because their smoke detectors didn’t go off due to worn out batteries or they’ve removed them because there were too many false alarms. It might have been that people removed their alarms and intended to have them repaired or replaced, but having the intention to do something doesn’t actually get it done.
If you’re searching for the best licensed electrician in the Brisbane area and surrounds (Alderley, Ashgrove, Bardon, Enoggera, Paddington, The Gap), look no further than Allyn White Electrical.
How Do Smoke Alarms Work?
Since smoke rises, smoke alarms are always placed on the roof for ideal detection. There are two common types of smoke alarms to choose from:
Photoelectric sensors use a beam of light within the detector to sense any smoke in the air. The beam will shoot in a straight line when the air is clear. In the presence of smoke, the light will scatter, this is when the alarm will go off.
Ionization detectors, on the other hand, use a chamber with a small electrical current. When smoke enters the chamber and the level of ions in the air changes, the electrical current drops and the alarm will sound.
Each function is beneficial in different instances and because of this, one is not necessarily better than the other. It is, however, recommended to have one of each of these functions on each floor of your home and in high-risk areas, such as the kitchen or near fireplaces and heating appliances.
Minimise Property Loss
There are many more combustible materials in today’s homes than in years past, which means a spark or small fire can engulf a house in less than five minutes.
A smoke alarm is your property’s safekeeping. It watches over your home or business when you’re sleeping, at work or away on holidays. If installed correctly, your whole home should be covered by a fire alarm system.
Having working smoke alarms could protect your property and belongings in the event of a fire by alerting neighbours if you’re away. The faster they alert the people who can put out fires, the sooner the fire is extinguished and your home will sustain less damage.
They Protect Your Family (But Only When Properly Maintained)
If installed correctly, a smoke alarm system can prevent further property damage and more importantly, loss of life. It’s a chance to get proactive around the house for the safety of you and your loved ones. When installing a smoke alarm, you’ll need to consider factors like:
• Where you install the smoke detectors (e.g. on a ceiling or wall)
• How many you plan on installing (e.g. one outside each bedroom)
• How easily you can access the smoke alarm for maintenance and/or battery changes.
Smoke Alarm Maintenance Tips
In order to ensure that your smoke alarms are working as they should, it is important to perform regular testing and cleaning. Some of the regular maintenance that should be performed on smoke detectors include:
Testing Your Smoke Alarm
How often should you test your smoke alarm?
Each smoke alarm should be tested once every month to ensure that the battery is not dead and that the alarm is operating properly. To test your smoke detector, hold down the test button until you hear a loud alert tone. If the smoke alarm is in a hard to reach the place, try using a broom handle or long pole to press the button. In some cases, you may need to press the button again to turn the alarm off.
Vacuuming Your Smoke Alarm
Smoke alarms should be vacuumed at least once every six months in order to remove any dust buildup and cobwebs. When vacuuming smoke detectors, make sure to use a soft brush attachment around and along each of the vents.
Protecting Your Smoke Alarm from Infestations
Using a surface insect spray around each of the smoke alarms in your home can be a good way to help prevent insects from nesting inside; however, when spraying around smoke alarms, make sure they are covered to prevent spraying inside of them.
Replacing the Battery in a Smoke Alarm
The smoke alarm’s battery may need to be replaced once a year. In most models, when the batteries are low, the detector will emit a short beeping sound every few minutes. It is important to note that not all smoke alarms have replaceable batteries, so you will need to check the manufacturer’s instructions before replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms.
When Should You Replace Your Smoke Alarm?
Since smoke alarms work to constantly monitor the air 24 hours a day, they may begin to malfunction over time from exposure to accumulated dust, insects, airborne contaminants, and corrosion. Most smoke detectors will have an expiration or replace-by date stamped/printed on them; however, if your smoke alarm does not have a date on it, it is important to replace it once every 10 years. At the end of 10 years, the smoke alarm will have gone through millions of monitoring cycles and the components may have become less reliable.
Hire a Licensed Electrician in Brisbane
If you need help with testing and installing smoke alarms in Brisbane, contact Allyn White Electrical today. With over 45 years of experience in all aspects of domestic, industrial, commercial and emergency electrical work, Allyn will be able to assist with your electrical problems in Brisbane.
For a free quote by a licensed electrician call 0416 235 641 or simply complete the online enquiry form and we will call and arrange to quote your switchboard and electrical requirements. Our charge out rate remains the same during the week, weekends and after hours, so don’t hesitate to contact us today!
sources: djelectrician.com.au, expertelectric.ca, sats.com.au, vaccarogroup.com.au