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.
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.
- 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
When do smoke alarms need to be installed?
What sort of smoke alarm should be installed?
Where in a rental property are smoke alarms required to be placed?
How much will smoke alarms cost?
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.[/fusion_text][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Smoke Detector Installers Auckland[/title][fusion_text]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