Smoke Alarms Melbourne

Smoke Alarms

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Everything you need to know about smoke alarms

The increasing number of appliances, power points and electricity we use in our homes and businesses increases the risk of property fire.

Enter – smoke alarms.

Making sure you have the right number, placement and maintenance of your life-saving devices could literally mean the difference between life and death. 

Early warning from a working detector is the primary source of protection in the event of a fire.

So, to make sure you've got yours right, here are the basics:

Fixing smoke alarm

How Do Smoke Alarms Work?

Detectors contain glass tubes filled with a material that reacts to smoke particles in the air.

Once smoke enters the detector, it conducts electricity and signals lights or sirens. It also protects its batteries from being drained by sounding it continuously while the central system malfunctions.

How Many Detectors Do I Need?

To protect your home effectively, it really is the more the merrier.

However, in Victoria, having at least one per storey of a residence is mandatory.


Where Should I Put My Smoke Alarms?

The Australian Country Fire Authority (CFA) recommends smoke alarms in Melbourne be installed in or near each bedroom and living area.

They must located where residents will wake in the event of a fire. It's also recommended that each is interconnected so that if one goes off, they all do, and everyone in the residence is alerted.

Smoke alarms in Melbourne should be installed to the following specifications:

  • On Ceilings: located in the centre of the ceiling, at least 30cm from any cornice or wall.
  • On Walls: located 30 – 50cm from the ceiling.

The more places they are located, the lower the risk of a fire or hazard getting out of control and causing serious injury.

Is There Anywhere A Detector Shouldn't Be Placed?

While no specific room in your house shouldn't be covered, some areas are likely to cause a lot more false warnings than others.

For example, it should always be at least 3 meters away from any cooking appliances (ie. toasters, ovens, etc.) as this is far more likely to trip your warning.

Steam can also sometimes be mistaken for smoke particles, so installation may need to be a few metres away if you have an extremely steamy bathroom.

Ceiling Mount Smoke Alarm

What Type is right for my home?

There are different types of smoke alarms in Melbourne, some of which can be more effective than others:

Battery Operated Smoke Alarm

A battery-operated option is the most basic of all home detectors. These tend to be cheap and easy to maintain.

The downside is that if the battery fails or is removed, the detector won't work.

Hard Wired

Hard-wired detectors are more complex than battery options.

When these detectors need installation, they must be done by a qualified electrician. Extra costs may be involved if wiring changes are required.

The advantage of hard-wired detectors is that they still work if there is a power outage.

Interconnected Smoke Alarms

Interconnected detectors can be linked to others within your house (eg. laundry and garage). The connection is made to an electricity supply and works independently.

When your detectors are connected, they are most effective because fire is quickly identified and activates other detectors on other levels of the house or building.

This means you will be alerted to small or smouldering fires before they spread into the entire or multiple rooms, thus increasing safety. This will help save lives and protect properties.

How Often Do I Need My Smoke Alarms In Melbourne Checked?

As of March 2021, Australian Standards and regulations for landlords were updated.

The new legislative requirements outline that in rental properties, all smoke alarms in Melbourne must be tested according to the manufacturer's instructions and replaced if required, at least once every 12 months for the safety of tenants.

This new Australian standard also reveals to all other home and property owners that their detectors (including batteries) checked annually to keep their properties compliant.

Indeed, maintenance is an essential part of home safety. This service will ensure the detector emits the sound that will save lives when necessary. Check that they're working correctly every month by pressing the test button.

If you have interconnected detectors, ensure their connections are working, and minor smoke emissions are not causing false readings.

How To Care For Your Smoke Alarms

Taking proper care of your smoke alarm in Melbourne is essential to ensure it remains in good working condition and to ensure its effectiveness in case of a fire.

Whether you are a homeowner or are renting, you should do the following to maintain your detectors:

  • Press the test button until the system sounds every month to check it's still working. 
  • Replace the battery every year* or if it emits a warning sound (a high-pitched beep occurring every 30 seconds).
  • Replace your detectors as per the manufacturer's recommendation. New units have an expiration date underneath the battery and generally need replacing every 10 years.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust particle build-up regularly, as this can affect sensitivity and performance.

*If you have a detector with a life long or lithium battery, you cannot replace it. The battery should last as long as the detector itself, i.e. approximately 10 years.

Need Installation, Replacement or Repair?

We can help you with all three! 181 Electrical will get you up to date and provide the paperwork to prove you are in line with Victorian Law and Australian Standards for electrical safety.

As part of our services, we provide thorough testing on-site to ensure the safety of people and property and ensure every detector is compliant.

Simply contact us on 0404 734 299 , email us at or click the button below to book your service today!

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