Location and Spacing Requirements
In existing and newly constructed buildings, approved smoke alarms can be surface mounted on walls or ceilings. Wall mounted alarms must be installed 30cm to 50cm below the ceiling. Ceiling mounted alarms should be placed at least 30 cm away from any wall or corner junctions.
Smoke alarms must be clear of any obstructions and cannot be installed in kitchens, bathrooms, laundries or garages where smoke or steam could trigger false alarms.
NSW law mandates installation of smoke alarms on every occupied storey of a residential building including basements and attics. On levels with bedrooms, alarms must be located both within every bedroom and in hallways or rooms outside each bedroom.
When more than one smoke alarm is present, they must be interconnected so that activation of one unit triggers all other alarms in the system to also sound. This helps ensure the alarm will be heard throughout the building.
Testing, Replacement and Maintenance
Smoke alarms should be visually inspected monthly to check for dirt, damage or defects. The test button should be pressed monthly as well to ensure proper function.
Batteries in battery-powered units must be replaced at least annually as required, or whenever an alarm chirps to indicate low battery.
All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years from the device manufacture date, which should be marked on the unit.
Rental and Leased Property Requirements
Landlords must guarantee smoke alarms are correctly installed and functional at the commencement of any new rental lease. Landlords must also confirm alarms are operational in between occupancies.
Tenants renting properties are obligated to replace smoke alarm batteries as needed during their occupancy. The landlord is responsible for all other alarm maintenance.
Developing a Home Fire Escape Plan
Smoke alarms alone cannot save lives without an emergency action plan in case of activation. NSW Fire and Rescue strongly advises all households to develop and practise a fire escape plan with two exit paths from each room. Having an established, rehearsed plan greatly improves chances of safely evacuating a burning home before smoke and flames prevent escape.
Have Your Smoke Alarms Installed by a Professional
Regularly testing smoke alarms, replacing them every 10 years, changing batteries annually, and having an escape plan are simple but proven life-saving steps.
Following NSW smoke alarm legislation provides crucial protection for homeowners, renters and families in the event of a dangerous house fire. Smoke alarms stand guard day and night when properly installed and maintained.
If you’re building a new property, renovating a current one, or looking to upgrade your smoke alarm system in Sydney, call us here at Mr Sparky. Our professional electrical team can help you today.