Smoke Alarm Installation

Have your smoke alarms expired?

Smoke alarms are your last line of defence when you and your family are sleeping. They have been designed and installed to protect you and your family and your biggest asset, your home, safe from fire.

May 1st 2016 has marked the 10 year anniversary of smoke alarms being mandatory in homes across NSW. Old smoke alarms have a life span of 10 years.

It’s the law to have at least one working smoke alarm installed on every level of your home. This includes owner occupied homes, rental properties, relocatable homes, caravans and camper-vans or any other residential building where people sleep.

  • Test your smoke alarm batteries every month by pressing and holding the test button for five seconds. Replace batteries every 12 months.
  • Vacuum dust off alarms every six months.
  • Replace smoke alarms with a new photoelectric alarm every ten years, or, earlier if specified by the manufacturer.
  • Assistance with battery replacement may be available in some circumstances.

Fire & Rescue NSW recommends the installation of photoelectric smoke alarms, ideally hard-wired and interconnected.


Photoelectric smoke alarm

Areas to avoid placing a smoke alarm

  1. Near window or doorway, ceiling fan or air-conditioners, as the smoke will easily escape the smoke alarms.
  2. Away from ceiling fans and air condition units.

Best locations to install smoke alarms

  1. As smoke rises, the best location is always on the ceiling, If this is difficult or not possible as high up on a wall as possible should suffice, especially if you are installing a battery smoke alarm.
  2. Smoke alarms should be located as close to bedrooms or the corridor just outside a bedroom.

Main types of Smoke Alarms available

The three types of smoke detectors on the market: ionization, photoelectric, and dual-sensor alarms, which use both ionization and photoelectric technology.

Ionization smoke alarms

Ionization smoke alarms are best at detecting the small particles typical of the smoke from fast, flaming fire - as opposed to smoldering fires, which produce smoke with larger particles. 

When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the current and activates the alarm.

Ionization smoke alarms can be triggered by the smoke produced by burnt food or by steam from a the shower

They tend to nuisance trigger quite a bit if placed in the wrong area like a kitchen (toast, cooking etc) or outside the bathroom (shower steam) so you may get more false alarms if the alarm is placed in the kitchen or near a bathroom.

Photoelectric smoke alarms

In a photoelectric smoke alarm, a light source is aimed into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. 

When smoke enters the chamber, the light is diffracted and reflected onto the light sensor, which triggers the alarm. 

These types of smoke detectors are best at sensing smoldering fires that create a lot of smoke without many (or any) visible flames.

While not as prone to false alarms as ionization smoke detectors, photoelectric alarms may be randomly set off by a buildup of dust in the unit.

Dual sensor smoke alarms

Dual sensor smoke alarms combine ionization and photoelectric sensors into one unit.

Some models require both sensors to be triggered before the alarm will go off, but this may delay the alert from sounding.

Other models only require one of the sensors to be tripped, but that also creates the potential for more false alarms.

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Aria C
Aria C
07:56 04 Dec 21
Service was great. Alan was very professional, helpful, friendly and made it all very easy for us. Highly recommended.
Tania Burkett
Tania Burkett
22:19 01 Dec 21
Alan was a pleasure to deal with, not only personally but professionally. The process was seamless, from online quotes, booking a time, confirmation via email and text with an alert that he was on his way (I could track him!) to the invoice arriving just after the job was completed.There was a problem with one fan (not his fault) and he came back to check it before it was replaced by the manufacturer under warranty, something he wasn’t required to do. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Westcork.
Jonathan Chan
Jonathan Chan
08:35 01 Dec 21
Alan was neat, punctual, but most of all did an amazing job in our home. He was clear during the quoting process and walked me through what was needed. Highly recommended and already have plans for future work.

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