New Smoke Alarm Legislation

The Queensland Government has just introduced new legislation requiring all households to have interconnected smoke alarms installed in all bedrooms and hallways.

How will the new smoke alarm legislation affect me and what is my timeline to comply?

Every Queensland residence needs to be fitted with photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms, in all bedrooms, as well as hallways. All houses being built or significantly renovated will need to comply with the legislation upon completion from January 1, 2017. All houses leased or sold will need to meet compliance after five years. All owner-occupied private dwellings will need to comply with the new rules within 10 years. Any smoke alarm being replaced after January 1, 2017 must be a photoelectric alarm.

I’ve read about photoelectric smoke alarms and ionised smoke alarms. What’s the difference?

In simple terms, photoelectric smoke alarms see the smoke and ionised smoke alarms smell the smoke. Generally, you will see smoke (photoelectric) before you smell it (ionised). Photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective at warning of smoke from smouldering fires and are less susceptible to nuisance alarms (triggered by things like burning toast). Fire and safety authorities recommend homeowners install photoelectric smoke alarms.

The new legislation requires smoke alarms to be interconnected. What does this mean?

Interconnecting requires a cable to link all of the detectors. This has to be performed by a licensed electrician. The result of interconnecting is that if one smoke alarm is activated, all detectors in the property will sound, giving everyone early warning.

In some homes, such as multi-storey properties, it will be a major task to run the required cabling. If cabling cannot be run without major cost, there are wireless interconnected units available on the market that we can source for you. Call us on 1300 369 633 for a free quote and advice.

What is the average cost of a smoke alarm?

Cheap smoke detectors start at $20.00, but we would strongly advise against using these. For a decent photoelectric unit, you will pay between $50.00 – $120.00/per unit plus installation costs.

What is the life expectancy of a smoke detector?

Generally, smoke alarms will last 10 years. We recommend you test your alarms every 12 months by activating the test button on the detector, followed by the hush button. A can of smoke can be purchased from electrical wholesalers as a secondary test.

What does the chirping sound from my detector mean?

In most cases it means that the battery is failing and needs to be replaced. The type of battery can vary; some units have a removable 9-volt battery which can be replaced safely by the home owner. Other units have inbuilt Lithium batteries – if they fail, generally the complete unit needs to be replaced. Hard-wired 240-volt smoke alarms have to be replaced by a licensed electrician. If replacing the battery doesn’t fix the issue, don’t hesitate to replace the unit.

What is the best brand in smoke detectors?

The ‘Brooks’ brand is our smoke detector of choice, however they are not the cheapest option. For a mid-range unit we would recommend the ‘PSA’ brand. We always recommend installing photoelectric models.

Can Scholz Electrical supply and install the smoke alarms I need to be compliant?

Yes! We are experienced in smoke alarm installation and can supply and install your smoke alarms in accordance with the new legislation.

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