It’s bushfire season, alright.
Australians are intimately familiar with the dangers of fire and the importance of being alert around fires – especially during the hot summer months! Many residents in rural areas have fire plans in place for just an eventuality.
But even city-dwellers such as ourselves need to remember the importance of fire safety.
That means being attentive when cooking, repairing faulty electrical cables, and ensuring our smoke alarms are up to scratch and working properly!
Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) tells us that, without a smoke alarm in your home, you are:
- 57% more likely to suffer property damage
- 26% more likely to suffer injuries
- 4 times more likely to die
These are some sobering statistics, and they only heighten the importance of working smoke alarms in your home, workplace, office, apartment, and townhouse.
Hardwired smoke alarms
Unlike the old, battery-powered unit in your hallway, a hardwired smoke alarm, also known as a 240v smoke alarm system, is powered by electricity from your home’s electrical system. While these alarms still contain batteries, they’re only there as a backup power.
In Victoria, homes built after 1997 must be connected to 240 volt mains power.
Why choose hardwired smoke alarms?
Hardwired alarms offer a range of advantages. Namely the fact that since they’re connected to your home’s wiring, multiple alarms can be installed and connected to each other. After all, fires can happen in any room of the home.
If an alarm in one part of the house detects smoke, it relays the message to other hardwired alarms in your house, meaning that wherever a fire starts anywhere in your home, you’ll know about it!
Installing hardwired smoke detectors
It’s important to note that hardwired smoke alarm installation must be carried out by a licensed electrician Melbourne.
We know what you’re thinking: why do you need an electrician to install a smoke alarm when you could drive to your local hardware store, pick up a smoke detector and batteries, and do a little DIY?
In the case of battery alarms, that’s true. Hardwired detectors on the other hand are a tad different.
Why? Because hardwired alarms are powered by your home’s electrical system – installing them requires either connecting them to existing wires or installing new ones altogether.
And the case of DIY electrical work, the law is crystal clear: unlicensed electrical work is illegal, full stop.
What about battery alarms?
Battery-powered smoke alarms are popular in older houses. They’re cheap and are quick and easy to install. Just remember to:
- Test your smoke alarms monthly
- Clean alarms once a year
- Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years
- Replace batteries yearly
Not sure how old your battery smoke alarm is? You can find the manufacture date on the bottom of it. If the alarm is pushing ten years, it’s time to replace it.
Smoke alarm maintenance
It goes without saying that a smoke alarm is only useful if it is functioning. In the old days, that meant holding a cigarette lighter up against the smoke alarm and waiting for it to go off.
Fortunately, testing your smoke alarms is much easier nowadays – not to mention, safer!
The vast majority of modern smoke alarms have an easily-accessible, labelled test button on them. Pull up a chair or a broom and hold the button down for a couple seconds – if your smoke alarm goes off, you can breathe easy. If not however, it’s time to replace the batteries.
Keep your home fire-safe with Briggs Electrical
When it comes to protecting your home from fire, the humble smoke alarm is the first – and for most of us, only – line of defence. Naturally, you’ll want only the best to keep you, your family and your property safe!
If you’re interested in getting a hardwired smoke detection system get in touch with Briggs Electrical! Our experienced team of electricians in Melbourne are available 24-hours a day to respond to your electrical disasters and to help with electrical work.