Smoke detectors

Smoke Alarm Installation

Working smoke alarms save lives as well as reducing likely resident/tenant injuries and property damage from house fires. Installing a smoke alarm is an inexpensive exercise and vital for peace of mind.
Under New Zealand Law, as of 1st July 2016, it is a requirement to have smoke detectors/smoke alarms in rental properties.
Electric Guys regularly carry out smoke alarm installations and annual inspections to give our clients real peace of mind. Don’t hesitate to contact us for advice about this important matter. We are also IQP electricians and fully qualified for commercial installations and commercial testing of smoke alarms.
For all smoke detector service & installations, call Electric Guys first. We supply, install and service smoke alarms to residential and commercial clients across Auckland since 1999

Types of Smoke Alarm

Types of smoke alarm

Smoke alarms detect the smoke particles from a fire. There are two common types:

  • A photo-electric smoke alarm, which uses a beam of light and a light sensor. When smoke particles affect the amount of light reaching the sensor, an alarm will sound.
  • An ionisation smoke alarm, which monitors the ions (electrically charged particles). When the electrical balance of the air is altered by the smoke particles, the alarm will sound.

The NZ Fire Service recommends that photo-electric alarms be installed in households or, if ionisation alarms are currently installed, they should be supplemented with photo-electric alarms as these provide more effective, all-round detection.

Smoke alarms are available with extra loud alarms, flashing lights or vibrating devices for people with hearing loss.

To be effective, an installed smoke alarm must be operating properly, audible through closed doors and able to detect smoke from all types of fires.

Domestic smoke alarms are typically battery-powered and provide good warning of the presence of smoke and fire as long as batteries are replaced regularly. Mains-connected systems (with battery back-up in the event of a power failure) are also available.

Domestic smoke alarm requirements

The New Zealand Building Code requires that all new houses and all existing houses undergoing alteration have smoke alarms installed. Domestic smoke alarms must be Type 1, which has:

  • a hush button so the alarm can be cleared without shutting off power (i.e. by removing the battery)
  • a test button.

Smoke alarms are compulsory in all new construction, and a law change currently going through parliament will require smoke alarms in rented homes from 1 July 2016. Regulations will make landlords responsible for ensuring operational smoke alarms are installed in their properties, and tenants will be responsible for changing batteries and reporting faulty alarms. Details on the number of alarms required will be given in the regulations.

Installation

Smoke alarms should be installed

  • on (preferably) or near the ceiling
  • on the escape route of each floor level of a household unit
  • in every sleeping space or within 3.0 m of a sleeping space door
  • in sleep-outs.

Note: The NZ Fire Service recommends installing them in every sleeping and living space.

If a smoke alarm must be located on a wall, install it 100 mm from the ceiling and 600 mm from a corner to avoid dead air pockets.

Do not:

  • install in a kitchen, garage or bathroom unless specifically designed for these spaces. Heat detectors can be installed in these spaces instead.
  • install close to a heater flue or an extract fan.

Where should I install a smoke alarm?

Because smoke rises, smoke alarms should be placed on the ceiling or as high up on the wall as possible. Smoke alarms should also be positioned between the bedrooms and the rest of the house, usually in a hallway. If your home occupies more than one storey, you need to install a smoke alarm on each level. Another little known fact is that if you sleep with a closed door you should have a smoke alarm installed in your bedroom. The number of smoke alarms required will depend on the size of your home.

Some don’ts with smoke alarm installations

Don’t install fire alarms near windows or fans. Also, don’t install near the bathroom as steam from the shower may set the alarm off. Smoke alarms shouldn’t be installed in the kitchen for the same reason. Steam from the stove or the kettle may cause a false alarm. Noise from fluorescent lighting can also cause a false alarm, so ensure that smoke alarms are no closer than 1.5 meters.

Testing your smoke alarm

While it is vital to install smoke alarms, it is equally important to test them regularly. Batteries should be tested each month. Pick a day, say the first of the month, and test the battery by pressing the test button. You can use a broom handle to do this if you are unable to reach. The unit should make a beeping sound if batteries are low but it is always best to carry out checks. Make sure the alarm is kept clean and dust free. Batteries should be replaced annually.

Residential Tenancies Regulations for smoke alarms

Smoke alarms

What are the proposed new smoke alarm requirements? The proposed new smoke alarm standards will require a minimum of one working smoke alarm
within three metres of each bedroom door. In a self- contained sleep -out, caravan or similar, a minimum of one working smoke alarm will be required.
In a multi- level unit, there must be a working smoke alarm on each level. The landlord must ensure that the alarm is operational at the beginning of each new tenancy. The tenant will be responsible for changing batteries during their tenancy

When do smoke alarms need to be installed?

Smoke alarms must be installed in all residential rental properties by 1 July 2016.

What sort of smoke alarm should be installed?

Where there are currently no smoke alarms, long-life photoelectric alarms will need to be installed.
Long- life alarms cannot have their batteries easily removed, and are more cost-effective over time because batteries do not need to be replaced every six to 12 months. If a property has existing smoke alarms that are not long-life photoelectric, landlords will not need to replace them immediately. But when they do need replacing they should be replaced with long-life photoelectric alarms. This proposal would see older style, replaceable battery smoke alarms progressively replaced over time with new long life photoelectric alarms as they reach the end of their life.

Where in a rental property are smoke alarms required to be placed?

All new and replacement smoke alarms in residential rental properties are installed in accordance with placement requirements identified in the manufacturer’s instructions ;
and there must be, at a minimum, one working smoke alarm in the hall or similar, within three metres of each bedroom and, in a self-contained caravan, sleep out or similar and, in multi-storey units, there shall be at least one smoke alarm on each level within the household unit.

How much will smoke alarms cost?

The alarms commonly used now take a 9 Volt battery and cost about $12, with batteries needing replacement every six to 12 months. Long-
life photoelectric alarms cost approximately $40- $100 and last for up to 10 years before requiring replacement
The number of smoke alarms needed (and the total cost) will depend on the size and layout of the property. Electric Guys are happy to provide quotes & estimates for all smoke alarm and smoke detector installations

Would the landlord or the tenant be responsible for replacing smoke alarm batteries?

The proposal is that it will be the duty of tenants to replace smoke alarm batteries. While the responsibility for battery replacement in standard 9 -volt battery alarms would remain with the tenant, the need to replace batteries would reduce over time as landlords replace existing alarm types with long life ones. This would help reduce the financial burden on the tenant of replacing batteries.

Smoke Detector Installers Auckland

For all smoke detector service & installations, call Electric Guys first. We supply, install and service smoke alarms to residential and commercial clients across Auckland since 1999

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