different types of smoke alarms

Different Types of Smoke Alarms in Australia

Did you know that there is more than one smoke alarm on the market? Each type is designed to detect different types of fire, so it’s important to know the difference and understand which will be the best option for protecting your home and family.

The team at Espire Electrical Solutions offers premium smoke alarm services to homes and businesses in Melbourne’s northern suburbs such as Briar Hill, Bundoora, Diamond Creek, Doreen, Eltham North, and Eltham. A newly installed and tested alarm will provide peace of mind that you’ll be notified instantly should a fire occur. We also ensure that smoke alarms are installed according to codes and regulations. Give us a call today so that you can sleep soundly at night.

Ionisation Smoke Alarms 

This is the most common type of smoke alarm found in Victorian homes for the simple reason that it’s been around the longest. They use a small amount of radioactive material to detect smoke – this is perfectly safe for humans but does pose an environmental concern when it comes time to dispose of them.

Ionisation smoke alarms are most effective at detecting small smoke particles – we’re talking smoke from fast-flaming, clean-burning fires (like a kitchen oil fire or an established fire that’s had some time to take hold). It’s important to keep in mind that most house fires are actually slow and smouldering, which means that ionisation alarms are less likely to detect them straight away.

They’re also more prone to ‘nuisance triggering’ from kitchen fumes, which homeowners can find frustrating enough that they disconnect the alarm.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

This is a newer technology that is increasingly being installed in Victorian homes. These smoke alarms use the reflection of light to detect large smoke particles as they enter the alarm chamber. They do not contain any radioactive or otherwise hazardous materials, which makes disposing of them much easier.

Photoelectric smoke alarms are most effective at detecting slow-burning, smouldering and smoky fires. As most house fires start off this way before taking hold and burning more ferociously, these alarms will activate earlier and provide your family with more time to get to safety. They can, however, ‘nuisance trigger’ when there’s a lot of dust in the air.

In fact, photoelectric alarms are recommended for domestic use by the Melbourne Fire Brigade (MFB) and Country Fire Authority (CFA).

Mains Powered Smoke Alarms

Did you know that you may be required by law to install mains-powered smoke alarms in your home? This is the case if your home:

  • Is newly built (from the 1st of July 1997 onwards)
  • Has undergone significant renovations (from the 1st of July 1997 onwards)
  • Has transferred ownership (from the 1st of October 2009 onwards)
  • Is available for rent or hire (from the 1st of October 2009 onwards)

Regardless, installing these smoke alarms in your home is recommended because they’re a more reliable and safer choice.

**Please note that mains-powered smoke alarms must be installed by a licensed and qualified electrician in Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs.

Battery Operated Smoke Alarms

If you are not legally required to install mains-powered smoke alarms or if they are unable to be installed for whatever reason, a long-life lithium battery-operated system may be an option. These smoke alarms will provide up to 10 years of operation without replacing batteries.

Some benefits of these smoke alarms include:

  • No more annoying flat battery beeps
  • Save money on replacing batteries each year
  • No need to climb ladders to replace the batteries

It’s also possible to install battery-operated smoke alarms with a user-replaceable 9V battery; however, it will need to be replaced at least once a year.

Do Smoke Alarms Have an Expiry Date?

Yes! All smoke alarms, whether they’re battery-operated or mains-powered, are only designed to last ten years. After a decade of exposure to dust, insects, airborne contaminants and corrosion, they will no longer be working as they should, and it’s time to replace them.

If your user-replaceable battery smoke alarm continues to beep after changing the battery, the alarm is likely faulty and should be replaced (even if ten years have not passed).

If your home experiences a lot of power outages, the rechargeable lithium cells in your battery-powered smoke alarm may degrade and make the alarm unusable (even before ten years have passed).

Update Your Smoke Alarms with Espire Electrical Solutions

If you’re building a brand new home, you’re doing some renovations on your existing home, or your current smoke alarms have reached the end of their lifetime, it’s time to think about upgrading. 

The team at Espire Electrical Solutions installs high-quality mains-powered photoelectric smoke alarms to ensure that your family and home are safe. Give us a call today and make a time for us to visit.

CALL US ON 0431 569 629

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