Tag: wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm

Queensland is undergoing a phased roll-out of new smoke alarm legislation, culminating in 2027. It is unsurprising then that there is misinformation regarding smoke alarm requirements – particularly surrounding the installation of 10-year battery powered smoke alarms vs 240V hardwired smoke alarms.

Can I install 10-year battery powered smoke alarms in QLD?

YES! you can. It is legal and perfectly acceptable to install 10-year battery powered smoke alarms in your Queensland home, provided you are not performing any of the 3 activities below;

  1. Constructing a new home
  2. Performing a substantial renovation
  3. Replacing an existing 240V hardwired smoke alarm

Prior to installing any smoke alarm it is important to understand their differences and when each type is permissible. Information contained in this article is sourced directly from the QLD Government. We encourage you to view and read the legislation for yourself too – direct links to all official government sources are included at the bottom of this article.

Queensland’s Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016 prescribes the legal ways of powering smoke alarms for domestic dwellings. It states that both 240V hardwired smoke alarms and 10-year battery powered smoke alarms are allowed. See the excerpt below;

Queensland’s Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) website states that 10-year battery powered smoke alarms are acceptable, provided the three scenarios previously mentioned above are not being performed.

Advantages of 10-year battery powered smoke alarms

  • Wireless smoke alarms powered by a 10-year non-removeable battery can be easily DIY installed and don’t require the expense of an electrician.
  • As the battery is sealed inside the smoke alarm (non-removeable) it lasts for the entire 10-year lifespan of the alarm and never needs to be replaced – no more annoying low battery chirp. After 10 years the whole alarm is simply swapped out for a new one.
  • Added versatility through wireless RF interconnection. In some situations it is physically impossible to install 240V hardwired alarms – i.e. where there are solid concrete ceilings or no roof cavity.

Do QLD smoke alarms need to be hardwired by 2027?

The short answer to this question is NO, they don’t. Although there are a lot of houses built in Queensland that require hardwired smoke alarms, there are just as many that have the option to use wireless 10-year battery powered smoke alarms and still be 100% compliant.

When must I install a 240V hardwired smoke alarm in QLD?

There are 3 situations in Queensland where it is a statutory requirement for 240V hardwired smoke alarms to be installed in a domestic dwelling (and 10-year battery powered smoke alarms may not be used). Outside of these 3 scenarios it is acceptable to install 10-year battery powered smoke alarms in your home.

1) If you are constructing a new home

If you are constructing a new home in QLD then hardwired smoke alarms are required as part of the building approval process. Queensland’s Building Regulation 2021 states that when constructing a new home, the smoke alarms must be hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply.

2) If you are performing a substantial renovation

Queensland’s Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 states that hardwired smoke alarms must be installed when a substantial renovation is being performed to a domestic dwelling.

3) If you are replacing an existing hard wired smoke alarm

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 also states that if a pre-existing smoke alarm being replaced was hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply, then the replacement smoke alarm must be hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply.

Outside of the 3 scenarios described above, it is legal and perfectly acceptable in QLD to install wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms which are

powered by a non-removeable 10-year battery.

Want to do some further reading? Links to all official sources in this article are provided below

Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016

States that both 240V hardwired smoke alarms and 10-year battery powered smoke alarms are allowed in domestic QLD dwellings.

Building Regulation 2021

States that when constructing a new home in QLD, the smoke alarms must be hardwired to the domestic dwelling’s electricity supply.

Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990

States hardwired smoke alarms must be installed when performing a substantial renovation or replacing an existing hardwired smoke alarm.

QLD Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Website – 2027 Smoke Alarm Legislation Fact Sheet

States that smoke alarms must be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10 year battery, or a combination of both may be allowed.

States that existing hardwired smoke alarms that need replacement must be replaced with a hardwired smoke alarm.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick start video or call us on 0478 596 402 today

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

New Farm, QLD, 4005

There are several important differences between ZEN wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms and conventional smoke alarms.

ZEN smoke alarms are photoelectric smoke alarms

1) Our smoke alarms are photoelectric (not ionisation). Older conventional smoke alarms use radioactive ionisation as the process by which they detect smoke particles in the air. Ionisation smoke alarms are good at detecting smoke from fast flaming fires, but are less adept at detecting smoke from smouldering flames which is common of most house fires. Ionisation alarms have also been known to cause frustrating nuisance alarms, which might condition people to switch them off, putting themselves at risk. For these reasons the older style ionisation smoke alarms are being phased out both in Australia and internationally. All ZEN smoke alarms are the photoelectric type and do not also contain an ionisation sensor.

ZEN smoke alarms are interconnected smoke alarms

2) Older smoke alarms typically operated as stand-alone units. If a smoke alarm sensed smoke on the ground floor of a building – yes it may activate, but any other smoke alarms on the upper floors would not activate until smoke had entered the same air space – by this time it could be too late to initiate an effective response (or escape).

Our ZEN smoke alarm bundle packs (5, 7 or 10-packs) arrive to you already wirelessly ‘interconnected’ together – there is no complicated pairing process as we’ve done it for you! If one interconnected ZEN smoke alarm detects smoke anywhere within a building, then all smoke alarms paired within the same network will simultaneously initiate their alarm. This can provide increased early warning and response time for residents.

ZEN smoke alarms have a 10-year long life battery

3) Our smoke alarms have a sealed (non-removeable) 10-year long life 3v lithium battery. Conventional smoke alarms are usually powered by a 9v replaceable battery. When the battery life becomes drained over time the smoke alarm begins to emit a loud intermittent ‘chirp’ noise. The chirp serves as a noisy (and annoying) reminder to replace the battery, and continues until the battery is replaced. As seen in past events, residents can remove the battery, disabling the chirping noise and the alarm itself, often with tragic consequences.

Because our smoke alarms are powered by a long life 10-year lithium  battery which is sealed inside the unit, the battery cannot be deliberately removed. At the end of the 10-year battery life span, the entire smoke alarm unit is simply replaced with a new one!

ZEN smoke alarms can be easily DIY installed

4) As there is no electrical wiring required, ZEN wireless smoke alarms can be easily DIY installed using the included screws and mounting bracket. A compliance certificate showing that the smoke alarms are Australian Standard 3786:2014 compliant is also included in the box with every ZEN smoke alarm.

ZEN smoke alarms free shipping and same day dispatch

5) ZEN smoke alarms offer free Australia Post shipping for all orders over $100, and same day dispatch if placed before 1:30pm business days – how good is that! Customers tell us they love our super-fast Australia wide delivery. Note we are not an offshore drop shipper. All our Aussie stock is kept locally at warehouses in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast, QLD.

ZEN smoke alarms are remote control compatible

6) ZEN smoke alarm bundle packs include a free remote control device (can also be purchased separately). Whilst the alarms will work perfectly fine without it, the ZEN remote control provides added convenience in that it allows you to periodically test the alarms, without having to reach up to the ceiling to press the alarm itself.

Probably the best feature of the ZEN remote control though, is the silence (hush) button. The silence button eliminates rushing around in a mad panic when you burn the toast in the kitchen. It also allows you to quickly and easily identify the location of the source alarm or problem area.

ZEN smoke alarms offer amazing after-sales support

and excellent customer service

7) Shop with confidence knowing you are buying from a well established, knowledgeable, and trustworthy company. Upholding good business ethics is important to us – we don’t hide behind online ‘contact us’ forms or Facebook Messenger – got a question or problem? – call Christian anytime on 0478 596 402 – he loves to help!

We are also members of professional industry associations such as the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) – this is your symbol of trust. But don’t just take our word for it, see what others are saying with over 140 Google 5-star reviews! – ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms located in New Farm, QLD.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick start video or call us on 0478 596 402 today.

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

New Farm, QLD, 4005

These new QLD smoke alarm laws have been implemented due to several fires which have tragically resulted in multiple fatalities in each instance.

Coronial inquest findings noted that had each property been fitted with functioning interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms in prescribed locations, the occupants may have stood a better chance of survival.

Early smoke / fire detection improves escape time from a burning building. During a fire emergency, it was not only the heat and flames themselves which presented a life-threatening hazard, many victims were first overcome by an accumulation of smoke and toxic fumes.

Russell Island House Fire – Brisbane 2023

In the early morning of 6th August 2023, Emergency Services were called to a house fire on Russell Island, just off Brisbane’s southeast coast. The cause of the house fire remains undetermined, however it resulted in the loss of six lives – five young boys and their father who returned to the inferno in an attempt to rescue his children. The fire also destroyed two neighbouring homes and left several people needing treatment for burns and smoke inhalation.

The landlord and home owner was subsequently charged and fined for failing to install legally required and compliant smoke alarms in the Queensland rental property.

Slacks Creek House Fire – Brisbane 2011

Just before midnight on 23rd August 2011, an accidental fire ripped through a house in Slacks Creek, South Brisbane.

The fire was to cause the greatest loss of life in a domestic house fire in Australian history, with a total of 11 people (including many children) perishing due to smoke inhalation.

A finding from the 2014 Coronial Inquest stated that;
‘Once this particular fire started, it is likely that some or all of the deaths would have been prevented if the sleeping occupants had been quickly awoken and had realised that they needed to leave the house as quickly as possible … smoke alarms were either not present in the dwelling or were not maintained’.

Many recommendations from the Coronial Inquest were incorporated into the QLD Building Fire Safety (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2016.

The legislation itself may be viewed at the Queensland Government website below;
https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/asmade/sl-2016-0221

Palace Backpackers Fire – Childers 2000

On 23rd June 2000 at 1am a disgruntled resident deliberately lit a fire inside the Palace Backpackers Hostel in Childers, southeast Queensland.

The fire spread rapidly throughout the old timber building and the hostel did not have working smoke detectors or alarms. The result? 15 young people sadly lost their lives. The arsonist was captured by police and sentenced to life in prison. The devastating effect of this event is still evident on the local township to this day.

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick start video or call us on 0478 596 402 today.

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

New Farm, QLD, 4005

Nothing is more frustrating than a smoke alarm going off for no reason (especially at 2am in the morning!). But why is your smoke alarm beeping when there is no smoke? There can be several causes of nuisance alarms. The good news is that you don’t have to go on living this way – our ZEN wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms provide reliable protection for you and your family!

The basic operating principal of an interconnected photoelectric smoke alarm is that it activates when the light beam inside the smoke alarm chamber is broken or disrupted – typically by tiny smoke particles. However these foreign particles can come from sources other than real smoke too – below are some of the most common examples and how to resolve them.

High humidity affecting your smoke alarms

High humidity may occur naturally as the air carries dense moisture particles that your smoke alarm confuses for smoke particles. Although brands can differ, smoke alarms should be designed to work up to 93% relative humidity – anything over this range and the air could become dense enough to scatter the light beam of a photelectric sensor. Extreme tropical weather conditions in far north Queensland and the Northern Territory can sometimes produce high humidity above 85% which may begin to affect an alarm.

High humidity may also be created artificially due to steam vapour from a bathroom shower, or a clothes dryer operating in a laundry room for example. If your smoke alarm is positioned outside a bathroom entrance or in a laundry consider moving it further away or relocating it completely so that escaping shower steam and dense air vapour doesn’t trigger nuisance alarms and start the smoke alarm beeping unnecessarily.

Insects inside your smoke alarm

Section 4.17 of Australian Standard 3786:2014 requires all smoke alarms to have protection against foreign bodies, so that a sphere of diameter larger than 1.3mm cannot pass into the sensor chamber – this protection is provided by way of an internal mesh screen. Despite this requirement it is still possible that very tiny insects (smaller than 1.3mm) could enter the smoke alarm and by doing so interfere with the photoelectric sensor. One tip to reduce this likelihood is to wipe the ceiling perimeter around your smoke alarm with surface insect spray (being very careful not to allow the insect spray itself to touch the alarm as this may affect the internal sensors).

Dust inside your photoelectric smoke alarm

A build-up of dust in the air may also affect your smoke alarm. If dust particles enter the internal chamber they will interfere with the photoelectric light beam and trigger nuisance alarms. We recommend cleaning your smoke alarms regularly by gently vacuuming around them with a soft brush attachment from your vacuum cleaner. Cleaning your smoke alarms in this way may remove any cobwebs which could also prevent pests from entering the alarm. Be cognisant of any activities in the home which may create excess dust – for example renovations, or shaking out old dusty blankets or doonas in a room which has a smoke alarm installed.

Cooking smoke affecting your smoke alarm sensors

It is true that whilst many house fires start in the kitchen, installing an alarm in the kitchen may also elicit many nuisance alarms and start the smoke alarm beeping unnecessarily. It doesn’t matter what brand of smoke detector you have, if you install it too close to the kitchen stovetop or oven it will activate when smoke particles are emitted from the cooking food (after all, the smoke alarm is just doing what it is designed to do). When cooking, be sure to use the oven exhaust fan or rangehood to draw smoky air particles away from the vicinity of your smoke alarm. If the problem persists, consider repositioning the alarm further away from the cooking appliance.

Conclusion

Beeping smoke alarms without an obvious apparent reason can be both frustrating and stressful. Worse, repeated false alarms may induce a ‘boy who cried wolf’ syndrome and reduce home occupants reaction to a real life fire event.

Fortunately, our ZEN wireless interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms undergo strict quality control measures and are manufactured at an ISO 9001 quality accredited facility, in adherence to Australian Standard 3786:2014, and are independently tested and verified which help reduce the likelihood of nuisance smoke alarms. Using the tips outlined above and below, your smoke alarms will provide many years of stress free and reliable fire protection.

For more information about why your smoke alarm is going off no reason, please refer to the handy smoke alarms diagnostic checklist below!

Want to know more? Watch our ZEN quick start video or call us on 0478 596 402 today.

We love talking smoke alarms!

ZEN Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

New Farm, QLD, 4005