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Where To Install Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

Knowing where to install smoke alarms is very important. Placing smoke alarms in the wrong place, or placing an inadequate number of smoke alarms can leave you and your family in danger. Even if you are not the tenant of a property, knowing where to install a smoke detector will make sure you remain compliant with the law.

Please note, legislation does currently differ between Australian states and territories, however Queensland has considered the safest smoke alarms laws in Australia, so we suggest following suit regardless as to where you live:

Queensland Legislation:

The legislation changes as of January 1st, 2017 require residential rental properties in Queensland to have 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.

What many people aren't aware of though, is that if you have a study, a sleep out, pool room or other room that contains a 'bed' i.e. sofa bed, futon etc., it is also considered a bedroom and for legislation purposes must also have a smoke alarm installed.

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.

There are special requirements for stairways, sloping ceilings, and ceilings with exposed beams. Specific requirements are explained in the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.

Should you install smoke alarms in bedrooms? 

YES! Even if it's not legislated in your state. Here's why:

Research has shown that when a fire starts in a bedroom with the door closed, the smoke alarms in the hallway do not activate. Even with the bedroom door open, the hallway smoke alarm may not activate in time to allow people in the bedrooms to get out. It makes sense, therefore, that smoke alarms should be installed inside bedrooms.

Ready to install your smoke alarm? 

Once you have established how many smoke alarms you need, and you know where to install your smoke alarms you can start planning their placement.

Remember hardwired smoke alarms MUST be replaced with hardwired smoke alarms and installed by the licenced electrician. Wireless photoelectric smoke alarms can be installed yourself.

Questions? Head to our FAQ or phone Dave on 0404 486 894.

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