SMOKE ALARM FAQs

General Questions, Troubleshooting Help & Instructions

 

What are the smoke alarm legislations that apply to me?

SMOKE ALARM LEGISLATION – AS OF JANUARY 2017

The details below is intended to inform consumers and installers of the latest legislation regarding smoke alarms in Australia. Should there be any changes to the legislation, PSA will endeavour to keep the information here as current as possible. If any changes in smoke alarm laws occur, it is often formally announced and given sufficient time to be mandated. Subscribe to our mailing list at the bottom of the page to be kept informed.

In all states across Australia, smoke alarms complying with Australian Standards AS3786 must be fitted in all residential and rental properties and in accordance with the Building Code of Australia. Please see below for individual State requirements.

 

 

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

All homes built since 1994 are required to have mains powered smoke alarms installed.

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NEW SOUTH WALES

At least one working smoke alarm installed on each level of a home. This includes owner occupied, rental properties, relocatable homes, caravans or any other residential building where people sleep. This has been the law since 1 May 2006 and can include hard-wired or battery powered smoke alarms.

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NORTHERN TERRITORY

As of 1 November 2011, all residential properties must have a working smoke alarm. If you are a home owner and already have a working ionisation smoke alarm installed, you do not have to change to a photoelectric smoke alarm until one of the following occurs:

  • Your smoke alarm ceases to work – you’ll need to replace it with either a hardwired 240 volt photoelectric smoke alarm with a 9 volt battery back up OR a photoelectric smoke alarm with a sealed 10 year lithium battery
  • you sell your home;
  • you rent out your premises or renew a tenancy; or
  • you hire out your caravan or movable dwelling
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QUEENSLAND

From January 1, 2017 every Queensland residence will need to be fitted with photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms in all bedrooms, as well as hallways of residences.

Any smoke alarm being replaced after January 1, 2017 must be a photoelectric smoke alarm.

All houses being built or significantly renovated will need to comply with the smoke alarm legislation upon completion after January 1, 2017.

All houses leased or sold will need to meet compliance after five years and all owner-occupied private dwellings will need to comply with the legislation within 10 years.

These smoke alarms must be:

  • 240V mains powered interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms
  • Photoelectric smoke alarms that are powered by a sealed 10-year lithium battery and have the capability to wirelessly interconnect between each alarm
  • Approved to AS3786:2014

Smoke Alarms installed in Queensland after 1st January 2017 must be AS3786:2014 compliant with some exceptions; Building approvals issued before 1 Jan 2017 and in non-regulatory installation can continue to use AS3786:1993 compliant products.

Rental Properties:

From 1 January 2022, landlords must install interconnected smoke alarms in residential rental properties.

All other dwellings must transition to full compliance by 2027.

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SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Homes or residential rental properties purchased before 1 February 1998 are required to fit a replaceable battery powered smoke alarm.

Homes or residential rental properties purchased on or after 1 February 1998 requires a smoke alarm (or smoke alarms) to be fitted within six months from the day on which the title is transferred and be either:

  • 240 volt, mains powered smoke alarm
  • a 10 year life, non-replaceable, non-removable, permanently connected battery powered smoke alarm.

Homes or residential rental properties built on or after 1 January 1995, the Building Code of Australia requires a 240 volt mains powered smoke alarm.

Interconnection Of Alarms

From 1 May 2014, smoke alarms have been required to be interconnected in all new class 1 dwellings, within sole-occupancy units of class 2 and 3 buildings and in class 4 parts of buildings. (Class 4 is a single dwelling in an office building, retail building, storage building, manufacturing building or public building.)

In existing buildings (i.e. those approved before 1 May 2014) any extension or addition (approved from 1 May 2014) which requires more than one smoke alarm must have those alarms interconnected however there is not a requirement to interconnect to alarms in the existing building.

Smoke alarms in subsequent extensions will be required to interconnect to any alarms in extensions approved after 1 May 2014.

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TASMANIA

From 1 May 2013, all Tasmanian residential rental properties must be fitted with smoke alarms.
From 1 May 2013 until 30 April 2016, smoke alarms can be battery (by either 9-volt removable battery or a 10 year non-removable battery) powered, or mains powered, provided it complies with AS3786-1993.
From 1 May 2016, smoke alarms will be required to be either mains powered or 10 year non-removable battery powered alarms.

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VICTORIA

All homes constructed after 1 August 1997 must have mains powered smoke alarms.
Homes before 1 August 1997 must have a battery operated smoke alarm.
From 1 May 2014, building regulations require all homes, apartments and residential buildings have interconnected smoke alarms.

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WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Since 1997, mains power smoke alarms must be installed in new properties and any existing properties that have undergone significant renovations.

From 1 October 2009, mains powered smoke alarms must be fitted in all existing residential buildings prior to sale and when a new tenancy agreement is signed for rental properties. If there are no tenancy changes in rental properties, then mains powered smoke alarms must be fitted by 1 October 2011.

New dwellings approved for constructions on and from 1 May 2015 will require interconnection of smoke alarms.

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My smoke alarms are going off. What should I do?

What to do in the event of an alarm

Why do smoke alarms chirp or beep in the middle of the night?

The chirping or beeping sound is a usually a low-battery warning.

Why are my smoke alarms going off for no reason?

False alarms are most commonly caused by something interfering with the sensor. Proper maintenance of your smoke alarms will also reduce the likelihood of any false alarms.

How do I maintain and clean my smoke alarms?

To ensure efficient and effective protection for your home, it’s important that the battery is checked regularly and smoke alarm is kept clean from contaminants.

How do I remove a smoke alarm from its base?

How to remove a smoke alarm from the mounting base

IMPORTANT:
If the tamper resistant feature has been activated on the unit, it must be disengaged before removing the alarm.

Smoke Alarms should only ever be removed for the purpose of cleaning, replacing the battery or to find its manufacture date.

Most smoke alarms come with an optional tamper resistant feature, such as a tamper screw or a locking tab mechanism, in order to protect against unwanted removal of the alarm.

QUICK SLIDE
Lifesaver 5800, 5800/2, 5800RL, 5800RL/2 & HomeGuard HG3000

Remove the tamper screw using a phillips-head screwdriver, then carefully slide the smoke alarm in the direction of SLIDE arrow until it separates from base plate.

TWIST OFF
Lifesaver 10YPEW

To remove the 10YPEW smoke alarm from its mounting bracket, rotate the alarm in the direction of the OFF arrow on the cover of the unit.

IMPORTANT:
LIF10YPEW model smoke alarms cannot be hushed if removed from the baseplate. The smoke alarm needs to be secured on the baseplate for the hush/silence feature to operate.

Need more help?

For more information about your specific alarm, refer to your user manual.
Our Technical Support Team is available to assist you between 8:00am – 5:00pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.
Send us an email or call 1300 772 776.

How do I replace the 9v battery in a smoke alarm?

Replacing the 9v battery in your smoke alarm

IMPORTANT: 
Only use 9v batteries from a reputable battery brand.
Battery replacement is not relevant if you have a 10-year lithium battery smoke alarm.
How long does a smoke alarm last for? When should I replace my smoke alarms?

Smoke alarms need to be replaced at least every 10 years.

How do I test my smoke alarms?

How to test a smoke alarm.

IMPORTANT: 
Do not ignite combustible materials to test your alarm. An accident could occur, resulting in a fire.
Where should I mount the smoke alarm?

Mounting smoke alarms

IMPORTANT:
The performance of smoke alarms mounted on walls is unpredictable and this mounting position is not recommended when ceiling mounting can be implemented.
Incorrect orientation of smoke alarms may decrease operational effectiveness.

Smoke, heat and other combustion products rise to the ceiling and spread horizontally. Mounting the smoke alarm on the ceiling, in the center of the room, places it closest to all points in the room. Ceiling mounting is always best, and take care to avoid dead air spaces when mounting. Dead air spaces generally occur at the peak or apex of cathedral ceilings and the corner junction of walls and ceilings.

CEILING/ WALL JUNCTION

When mounting smoke alarms on the ceiling, locate it at least 300mm away from the side wall and 300mm away from any corner to avoid dead air space.

If ceiling mounting is not possible, the recommended position for wall mounting is between 300mm and 500mm off the ceiling.

CATHEDRAL CEILING / A-FRAME CEILING

When mounting smoke alarms on Cathedral / A-frame ceilings, position the alarm at least 500mm away from the peak of the ceiling, but no further than 1500mm away from peak.


Need more help?

Our Technical Support Team is available to assist you between 8:00am – 5:00pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.
Send us an email or call 1300 772 776.

What do I do if my smoke alarm starts chirping?

If installing the smoke alarm for the first time, please ensure the yellow battery installation tag has been removed. PSA smoke alarms will emit an audible chirp at regular intervals to indicate that the 9 volt back-up battery is low in charge and needs to replaced.
The procedure on how to replace the 9 volt battery differs slightly depending on the smoke alarm model. Please use the information below as a guide and refer to your smoke alarm’s Installation and User Manual for the correct procedure.

Smoke Alarms which are model LIF5800RL, LIF5800RF, LIF10YI and LIF10YPE, LIF10YPEW, LIFPE10 the batteries cannot be replaced. Contact PSA technical team for information if you have the aforementioned models and are experiencing chirping. Should your smoke alarm be close to 10 years old, it is most likely at its expiry and due for replacement.

Have you pressed the Hush feature? Pressing the hush button on the smoke alarm will cause the smoke alarm to beep or chirp for 10-15 minutes. The Hush feature is designed to desensitize the smoke alarm from false alarms, with the chirping indicating hush mode is active. Hush mode will automatically reset once the 10-15 minute chirping cycle is over. Pressing the hush button before this cycle if over will restart another 10-15 minute cycle of chirping.