How to Sync & Install Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
Can I install a smoke alarm myself?
Installing a smoke alarm is a task best left to a professional for the sake of your safety. A licensed electrician can ensure your smoke alarm works as it should and prevent issues from arising. You’ll also be required to hire a qualified electrician to attach a smoke alarm that is connected to mains power. However, it is relatively easy to install a photoelectric wireless smoke alarm in many cases.
Before you install your smoke alarm
Before installing your smoke alarm, you’ll need a drill, screwdriver, batteries, wall plugs, a stepladder and possibly some screws, though the correct-sized screws will usually come with the smoke alarm you purchase. If you’re unsure of what you’re doing or whether you need to connect your smoke alarm to the mains power, you should call an electrician. Always follow the instructions and safety guides that come with your alarm, whether its optical smoke alarms or a photoelectric smoke detector.
In some cases, you can use 3M adhesive mounting tape to safely install a smoke alarm.
Installing your smoke alarm: step by step
Step 1: Decide where to install your smoke alarms
Queensland legislation (considered the safest in Australia) requires a photoelectric smoke alarm in every bedroom, in hallways that connect bedrooms and at least one on every storey of a multi level house, in the most likely route to exit.
To ensure safety, smoke alarms must be positioned correctly. To maximise smoke alarm operation, avoid installation in the following positions:
- In dead air space. This is an area in which trapped hot air will prevent smoke from reaching the alarm. This space generally occurs at the apex of cathedral ceilings, the corner junction of walls and ceilings, and between exposed floor joists.
- Near windows, doors, fans or air conditioners. Excessive air movement may prevent smoke and gases from reaching the smoke alarm or cause nuisance alarms.
- In or outside of the bathroom as steam may cause nuisance alarms.
- In insect infested areas, as insects flying into the alarm could cause nuisance alarms.
Smoke alarms must not be placed:
- within 300mm of a corner of a ceiling and a wall;
- within 300mm of a light fitting;
- within 400mm of an air-conditioning vent;
- within 400mm of the blades of a ceiling fan.
Step 2: Choose the right smoke alarms
You need to decide which smoke alarms to install, which largely depends on your environment. If you are replacing hardwired smoke alarms, these must be replaced with hardwired smoke alarms and installed by a licenced electrician.
Otherwise, you can install photoelectric wireless smoke alarms yourself.
Step 3: Call an electrician
No matter which smoke alarm you intend to install, we recommend calling an electrician for advice beforehand. If your smoke alarm will be wired to your home’s electrical system, you’ll be required to let an electrician handle the installation.
Step 4: Install your battery-powered smoke alarm
Firstly, screw your base plates into the correct locations within your dwelling. Then choose one smoke alarm to be your ‘Master’ activating by turning it on by rotating clockwise. Repeat with each smoke alarm you wish to install. Do this in succession in order for your smoke alarms to sync with the Master. Watch the video above for a tutorial.
Smoke alarm maintenance
You should test your smoke alarms every month by pressing the button until you hear it make a beeping sound. Every 6 months, vacuum the dust, spider webs etc. that can build up in and around your alarm and cause problems, and replace the batteries at least once a year if you're using 9V battery smoke alarms.