Where Should You Install Your Smoke Alarms?

Where Should You Install Your Smoke Alarms?

Smoke alarms save lives and are an immensely important part of your home. House fires can start when you are at your most vulnerable in the middle of the night and smoke alarms can be the difference between saving your home or losing it. The placement of your smoke alarms is incredibly important in ensuring they are operating as effectively as possible. There are legal requirements for the placement of smoke alarms and rooms/areas of your home it is highly recommended you have additional smoke alarms to improve the effectiveness of the system. This article will be based on the Victorian building codes recommendations and requirements as of 19 April 2024 and you should check your local bylaws and or consult with an installer to ensure that you are following the most current laws and requirements.

Under The Building Regulations 2018, all homes must have the following:

  • All homes residential buildings must have fire alarms outside bedrooms and along the path taken to evacuate the home as well as being on every storey of the home;
  • All homes built after 1 August 1997 or homes that have had an extension or renovation after that date must have smoke alarms that are connected to 240V mains electricity as well as having a 10-year backup lithium battery;
  • Homes built before 1 August 1997 can have smoke alarms that are purely powered by a lithium battery;
  • All homes built after 1 May 2014 must have interconnected smoke alarms installed so that when one smoke alarm goes off they all go off.

On top of your legal requirements fire safety professionals and Fire Rescue Victoria highly recommend you also do the following:

  • If you do not have interconnected fire alarms you should opt to install them as they have a much higher chance of waking you up or alerting you when there is a fire in your home improving your safety;
  • Each bedroom should have a fire alarm installed to better alert the people in that room rather than an alarm outside the room;
  • All alarms should be tested monthly, cleaned yearly and replaced every 10 years to ensure effectiveness.

By implementing these changes and standards you will better allow the system to alert your home inhabitants in the event of a fire and let you get to safety faster. On top of where they are positioned and how they are installed in those areas has a great effect on the effectiveness of the system.

Installation Guidelines

The installation of mains-powered smoke alarms should only be done by a licensed electrician and it is illegal to conduct any DIY electrical work on your home and DIY electrical work can kill. But when deciding on where your smoke alarms should go you need to follow the following guidelines:

  • Smoke alarms should be 30 cm away from the wall and positioned away from air conditioners and fans as these can affect the ability of the smoke alarm to detect smoke;
  • If the alarm can not be placed on the ceiling it can be placed on the wall however it needs to be within 30-50cm away from the ceiling to allow for sufficient airflow over the alarm;
  • If you have vaulted ceilings the alarm needs to be positioned within 50-150cm in front of the apex of the ceiling.

By following these guidelines you will ensure your sensor is not in dead air and gets sufficient airflow to allow for it to detect a fire in its earliest stages possible.

Smoke alarms are an incredibly important bit of kit and when installed correctly can help alert you at the earliest stages possible to let you act earlier and get the inhabitants of your home to safety. If you have any further questions on smoke alarms and where you should place them and you are in the Melbourne area contact our team at First Call Electrical Services and we can help you. On top of this, our team offer either the replacement of an existing smoke alarm or the installation of a battery-powered smoke alarm for an upfront cost of $160.47 per smoke alarm. Just purchase the service through our shop and our team will organise a time that suits you to install the alarm. Or if you need a completely new system contact our team here and we will work with you to get the system installed.

Refrences and Further Reading:

Smoke Alarms | Fire Rescue Victoria

Smoke Alarms | Victorian Building Authority


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