If you own a home in Queensland, it is important you know the smoke alarm laws. As a homeowner or landlord, you have certain responsibilities under the new laws. They've been phased in over several years and have impact on different aspects of home ownership.
Interconnected photovoltaic smoke alarms is quite a mouthful. Let's break it down.
The interconnected part means that all the smoke alarms talk to each other. If one alarm senses a problem, all smoke alarms will ring. This has been proven to save lives. A smoke alarm ringing right outside your bedroom door is much more likely to wake you than a smoke alarm ringing at the other of the house. Survival rates in house fires are heavily impacted by your reaction time. A few more seconds to evacuate a burning home can be the difference between life and death.
The photoelectric part means that the smoke alarm “see” smoke. I put that in quotations because it doesn't literally see. But it something very similar. Previously, smoke alarm relied on a radioactive crystal that would sense a build up of particles. Photoelectric smoke alarms have a beam that shines into a sensor. When the sensor isn't seeing enough light it assumes there's a fire and sounds an alarm.
The advantages of photoelectric smoke alarms are many. Firstly, they tend to be better and sensing smouldering fires. They also have fewer nuisance alarms, being better at not-detecting burning toast (for instance).
Finally, they don't have radioactive isotopes in them, making disposal much easier.
The reason the Queensland government is requiring these smoke alarms is because of the benefits I listed above. They're safer and better.
All new homes are already required by law to have interconnected photoelectric alarms fitted. That law came into effect in 2017.
As of January 2022 all homes bought and sold will need interconnected photoelectric alarms.
By January 2027 all home will need to be upgrade to interconnected photoelectric alarms. Which means, at the very most, you have 6 years to upgrade.
The benefits to your and your family from the increased safety mean that it's probably a good time to upgrade right now.
There are other laws that apply. For instance, you need to have alarms on each storey of your home. One in each bedroom. In hallways. Etc. For more information check the Queensland Govt website: https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/smokealarms/Pages/existing-properties.aspx
If you need assistance with installing the correct smoke detectors then consult your local experts. We used South East Electrical for much of the information in this article. See them for smoke alarm installation and service or find your local experts. Remember that compliance with the laws will be mandatory and if you're landlord you have a special obligation to ensure correct compliance. Consulting with a body who can assure you get the correct setup can be a good investment.