Smoke alarm maintenance saves lives
With the looming 2022 deadline that all rental properties to be fitted with interconnected smoke alarms, what’s less discussed but of equal importance is smoke alarm maintenance.
Smoke alarm maintenance plays a crucial part of property management for two clear reasons: it protects tenants and protects properties. Rental properties must be fitted with working smoke alarms that are in accordance with the Queensland Fire & Emergency Services Act 1990 and meet Australian Standard 3786. Additionally, sometimes smoke alarms require electrical work undertaken by a certified electrician. Hence, it’s important to have a professional smoke alarm servicing company to regularly attend rental properties – not only for property compliance but to safeguard tenants against potentially deadly house fires.
During inspections, Smoke Alarm Solutions’ technicians carry out maintenance that ensures the smoke alarms are not only in correct working order but ensure they reduce the risk of alarms falsely activating and disturbing tenants. Below are the key actions our technicians take when servicing alarms:
Testing the Alarms
During testing, a technician will push the test button to see if the alarm sounds. Not only is this to ensure the alarm will actually sound but to ensure the audible output of the alarm is no less than the 85dba it’s manufactured to operate at. If an alarm doesn’t sound to this level, or produces no sound at all, it’s likely to be faulty and must be replaced.
From 1 January, 2022, smoke alarms in Queensland rental properties are required to be interconnected. For these alarms, the testing process is slightly different. A technician must press the test button on each alarm to ensure when one sounds, they all sound. If all alarms are not sounding together, it indicates there’s a fault in the interconnection loop that must be fixed.
Check the Power Supply
Smoke alarm technicians also check alarms for sufficient power. There are three different power supply options for smoke alarms:
9-volt Battery: These batteries deplete in charge over time and must be replaced regularly. If the battery has less than an 90% charge, technicians should replace it.
10-year Battery: These batteries are designed to last 10 years, which is the lifetime of a smoke alarm. Technicians will check the expiry date on the battery if possible and replace the alarm if expired.
240-volt Hardwired: These alarms are hardwired into a property’s mains power. They have an LED indicator to ensure mains power is being received by the smoke alarm. They also, by law, must have a battery backup in the event of a power failure. This backup can be in the form of a 9-volt battery, which requires replacement, or a rechargeable lithium battery.
Clean the Alarms
Making sure alarms are cleaned is another important step to the maintenance process. A build-up of dust or bugs inside alarms interfere with the smoke sensor and cause an alarm to malfunction. Smoke alarm technicians will thoroughly clean the alarm according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Replace Expired Alarms
All smoke alarms expire 10 years after the date of manufacture. Technicians will check the expiry dates on the alarms, replacing any due to expire. Where possible, Smoke Alarm Solutions will replace alarms on a ‘like for like basis.’ This is particularly important for interconnected alarms as many require the same brand and model for the interconnection loop to be functional.
Check Alarms Comply to State Legislation
Queensland has some of the strictest requirements and regulations around smoke alarms. From 1 January, 2022 smoke alarm legislation will require an even higher level of safety for rental properties. The new legislation states that Queensland rental properties must:
- Have smoke alarms installed in every bedroom;
- Have smoke alarms powered by either 240 volt or 10-year lithium batteries;
- Have interconnected smoke alarms;
- Have photoelectric smoke alarms; and,
- Ensure smoke alarms meet Australian Standard 3786:2014.
Additionally, there’s an ongoing responsibility to have smoke alarms tested and cleaned within 30 days prior to each tenancy change or renewal. Batteries must also be replaced where needed and alarms replaced prior to their expiry date.
While it may seem overwhelming for property managers to keep abreast of smoke alarm compliance, it’s important to remember this: smoke alarms save lives. Ensuring your client’s rental properties are equipped with compliant smoke alarms that are regularly maintained will give you and your client both peace of mind.
Are you in need of a smoke alarm servicing company?
Smoke Alarm Solutions are the experts when it comes to smoke alarm legislation and compliance. They supply, install and service smoke alarms in over 200,000 homes. They have the largest field service capability in the industry with 100 technicians in the field, meaning they can promptly respond to any urgent job request. Let Australia’s largest provider of smoke alarm compliance and maintenance services look after the alarms in your properties. Enrol your properties with Smoke Alarm Solutions today by clicking here.