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Smoke Alarm – Everything You Need to Know

Smoke alarm

Ensuring your family’s safety is of the utmost importance. This is why having a smoke alarm at home is your best bet in making sure that you and your family are safer when a house fire occurs.  

A fully operational smoke alarm increases your chance of surviving a house fire. Here are things you need to know about smoke alarms. 

About Smoke Alarm

Why should I have a smoke alarm at home? 

All houses, units, flats, townhouses, and other residential rental properties in ACT are required by law to have a smoke alarm installed.  

During a fire, smoke alarms beep loudly, alarming the residents and giving them time to escape the burning house and call ACT Fire & Rescue.  

Where should I install smoke alarms? 

Smoke alarm manufacturers recommend that alarms should be installed on the ceiling of bedrooms or a corridor that leads to the bedrooms and if possible, even in the living area. For multi-level homes, smoke alarms should be installed on each level of the house.  

Why should I get an interconnected smoke alarm? 

Interconnected smoke alarms are connected to each other so when one sounds, they all sound. These alarms communicate with each other so that all alarms are activated when one of the smoke alarms goes off.  

How do I know if my smoke alarm is working properly? 

Have your smoke alarms tested monthly and your battery-operated ones replaced every year. 

Which smoke alarm should I have? 

According to ACT Fire & Rescue, you should only install hard-wired and interconnected smoke alarms. Here are the differences between the two. 


  • A 240-volt smoke alarm connected to a home’s electrical system with a battery backup power supply 

Battery operated

  • 10-year lithium batteries last as long as the smoke alarm. 
  • Lead or alkaline batteries need to be replaced yearly. 

How often do I need to maintain my smoke alarm? 

Once a month 

Test your smoke alarms every month. You can do this by pressing and holding the test button for at least five seconds until you hear the beeps. 

Every 6 months 

Vacuum dust off your smoke alarms every six months. Keeping your smoke alarms free of particles helps reduce false alarms and ensures smoke can easily reach the internal sensor. 

Every year 

Replace lead or alkaline batteries every 12 months. 

Every 10 years 

Replace all smoke alarms with new 10-year lithium-powered smoke alarms every 10 years, or earlier if specified by the manufacturer. 

What if I am hearing impaired? 

There are available smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hearing impaired. You may visit Expression Australia for more info and other financial aid.  

What should I do if the smoke alarm activates? 

The first thing to do is to have everyone in the house evacuate the space and call 000. If safe, you can also check what has triggered the alarm.  

When it comes to smoke alarms, you want to get it right – and you want it to be easy! 

Capital Home Electrical is a team of highly qualified and trained professionals that can ensure that your smoke alarms are: 

  • correctly installed and in working order
  • tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions at least once every 12 months
  • have their batteries replaced as required
  • repaired or replaced as an urgent repair. 

Call us for a quick quote, you know you want to! 02 6100 2353 

Trivia section: 

  1. Electrical fires and faults cause 40% of house fires. 
  2. If you have an ionisation smoke alarm that is approaching its expiry date (usually 10 years) or it has become faulty, ACT Fire & Rescue encourages you to replace it with a photoelectric smoke alarm.
  3. If using a battery-powered alarm, the photoelectric alarm powered by a 10-year lithium battery is the best choice. Smoke alarms must be compliant with the Australian Standard AS3786.
  4. If a fire starts in a home with no working smoke alarm it’s: 57% more likely that property damage will occur, 26% more likely that a serious injury will occur, and 4x more likely that there will be a fatality. 

Read more about electrical safety.