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What Are Smoke Detector Requirements in a House?

Wed, Mar 31, 2021

Smoke detectors are an essential part of any home. By law, homeowners and landlords are required to ensure that they comply with smoke detector requirements as directed by government regulations. Because most people are careful about how they handle electricity and fire within their homes, it is easy to ignore the importance of that small and often ‘invisible’ device in your home. But here are some tips that can help you ensure you and your family’s safety.

What Are Some Important Maintenance Requirements for Smoke Alarms?

Maintenance of smoke detector

According to the smoke detector requirements, there are three timelines you need to pay attention to.

First, to maintain residential smoke detector requirements it is important to make sure that you test your smoke detectors every month. Check that they are still functioning properly. You can do this by pushing down on the test button for five-seconds until you hear it beeping. That means it’s working just fine. This is especially important if you have just moved into a house that already has smoke detectors installed.

After every six months, you want to make sure you vacuum or lightly damp dust any accumulated particles from the smoke detectors. This ensures that smoke can easily reach the sensor inside the device and it reduces the possibilities of any false alarms.

Finally, on a yearly basis make sure to replace any lead or alkaline batteries in your smoke detectors. Avoiding or forgetting to do so hampers the efficiency of the smoke detector and can definitely result in serious consequences down the line. Adhering to these guidelines will help you always stay in line with smoke detector requirements.

How Many Smoke Detectors Should a House Have?

Most people aren’t aware of how many smoke detectors are required in a home. This number may vary according to the building codes of every region and, of course, according to the size of your home. The general recommendation is that your home should have a smoke alarm in between each bedroom and on every level of the house, also covering any hallway that connects the rest of the house to the bedrooms. So in a two-story four-bedroom house, you might need up to three or four smoke detectors.

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Does Every Bedroom Need a Smoke Alarm?

Smoke detector has detected smoke in a bedroom

According to the New South Wales regulations, for homes to meet smoke detector requirements they only need to have smoke detectors near every bedroom and in any hallway that connects the rest of the house to the bedroom. Residents also need to make sure there’s a smoke alarm on every floor of the house even if there are no bedrooms on that floor. So having a smoke alarm in your bedroom might not be necessary, but, do ensure that you have one close to the bedroom itself. However, for a higher level of protection, it is recommended that residents have an interconnected smoke detector system and a device installed in every bedroom and every living space, including the garage.

Where Should Smoke Alarms Not Be Placed?

To meet smoke detector requirements it is essential that you don’t install smoke detectors in what are known as dead airspaces, or spaces that have poor air circulation, thus making it near impossible for the smoke to reach the sensor. Make sure smoke alarm devices in your home are not installed within 300 mm of the corner of a ceiling and a wall. If the ceiling of your home slopes, make sure that the devices are placed in an area that is between 500 mm to 1, 500 mm from the apex of the ceiling.

Do not place your smoke alarms near devices that may tamper with their efficiency. This means you need to make sure that smoke alarms are some distance from things like ceiling fan blades or air conditioning vents. A recommended distance is about 500 or 600 mm away from these home appliances. It is also recommended that you don’t place your smoke detector close to light fittings.

In the event that you have a smoke detector that may come in direct contact with cooking fumes, place it on the wall instead of the ceiling and make sure it’s about 250 mm from the ceiling.

Are Battery Operated Smoke Detectors Legal?

Yes, battery-operated smoke alarms are legal. A good brand to use would be the X-Sense mini wireless interconnected smoke detector. It is an efficient model that uses radio-frequency to transmit and receive messages. Thus, if one alarm goes off, the other interconnected alarms will give you an alert, no matter where you are in the house. It’s simple and easy to install and doesn’t need any hardwiring and it has a ten-year sensor life. Most importantly it meets fire safety standards.

Do You Really Need to Replace Smoke Detectors Every Ten Years?

Smoke alarm sensors wear out over time, they do not last forever. Most smoke alarms come with a five to ten-year life span. However, it is safe to say that you need to replace any type of smoke alarm every ten years. What if you don’t know how old the smoke alarms in your home are? It’s important to ask either the landlord or the real estate agent if you’re buying a home, how old the devices in your home are. Additionally, you can check the serial number on the smoke detector itself. Most devices come with a standard batch or serial number that can tell you how old the device is. You may want to check for this number near the battery compartment of the device.

Are Smoke Detectors Required When Selling a House?

Smoke detector requirements dictate that any landlord should ensure that there are smoke alarms installed in the leased property, and homeowners are required to have smoke alarms installed within their homes when living there. It is safe to say that if you don’t already have smoke detectors installed in your home before you sell it, you most likely need to ensure that you install them before making a sale.

Smoke detectors save lives. It is highly irresponsible to live in any home without one. You can’t predict the future, but you can make sure that you and your family are safe all the time.

You may also like: Wireless Smoke Alarm User's Guide

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