House fires are the cause of more deaths in Australia than all natural hazards put together. While many of these, according to MacQuarie University, are due to the deadly bushfires that sweep through our country during hot dry summers, over 50 people in Australia die every year in residential fires.
Many of these are preventable. Most deaths, a study found, happened at night when victims were in bed, asleep. More than a third of these deaths in home fires were people aged over 65. Smoke alarms are one of the single most effective ways of alerting occupants in a home to a fire.
Capable of detecting the earliest signs of a fire in the home, smoke alarms can vastly reduce the risk of death from fire, home collapse, or smoke inhalation. It’s crucial to keep your smoke alarm up-to-date and regularly maintained. If you don’t have one, you need to have one installed as soon as possible.
WHY ARE SMOKE ALARMS ESSENTIAL IN SYDNEY?
These alarms detect smoke in the air and emit a loud noise to wake up or otherwise alert people in the home and within the vicinity of a potential fire. The risk of dying in a house fire in Australia rises by 60% for those without a smoke alarm.
HOW MUCH DO SMOKE ALARMS COST?
One of the biggest deterrents of smoke alarms is their price – but they are now available for incredibly affordable prices! Depending on what type of alarm you want, the price will vary. However, schemes are in place for low-income households and for those who require an accessible smoke alarm (e.g. Deaf alarms that feature bright flashing lights or vibrations). The price may vary but generally, this is how much smoke alarms cost in Sydney:
• Ionisation smoke alarms – $10-50
• Photoelectric smoke alarms – $18-100
• Dual sensor smoke alarms – $40-60
• Wi-Fi smoke alarms (with a lithium battery) – under $30
• Wi-Fi smoke alarms (with a lithium battery and escape light) – up to $60
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SMOKE ALARMS?
Ionisation smoke alarms
Manufactured with a trace amount of safe radioactive material that detects particles emitted by fires. These work best at detecting fast fires that don’t produce much smoke but cannot detect heat or smoke.
Photoelectric smoke alarms
Using a photocell and light beams directed away from the alarm, this device detects fire when its smoke scattered the light beams. While incredibly effective, these have been known to react to dust or insects.
Dual sensor smoke alarm
These hyper-sensitive devices combine both ionisation and photoelectric detection methods. However, they should be kept away from kitchens and bathrooms because of their propensity for false alarms.
Carbon monoxide alarms
For properties with gas heating, these alarms are essential. Unlike fires, which can also be detected by the eye or scent, a carbon monoxide leak is deadly silent and undetectable.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK OUT FOR IN A SMOKE ALARM?
It’s recommended, nowadays, to prioritise smoke alarms that contain lithium batteries. This gives them a much longer lifespan and reliability compared to standard smoke alarms that can go unchecked and forgotten. You could also look into mains-powered smoke alarms. While slightly more expensive, these will ensure that you never have to worry about changing the batteries. You should also make sure that the alarm has a test button that you can check regularly and that it has an in-built function making it beep when the battery is low, reminding you to change it. For larger properties and homes with children or people with sight difficulties, you should look out for smoke alarms that have escape lights installed. These are designed for power failures or smoky fires that can make it difficult to find the exit in an emergency. Again for larger properties or multiple occupancy houses, you should consider interconnected smoke alarms. These are designed so that, if one of them sounds, they will all go off.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO INSTALL SMOKE ALARMS IN SYDNEY?
Battery-operated standard smoke alarms can be installed by yourself however mains-powered smoke alarms, those with escape lights, interconnected devices, or any other type of alarm should be installed by a qualified electrician. We also recommend that all smoke alarms be installed and tested by a qualified professional. Smoke alarms are not something you should take risks with. Some electricians will charge by the hour or charge a flat fee. Generally, you can expect these prices from Sydney electricians:
• Per hour and for labour only – $45-60
• To install one smoke alarm – $140-170
• To install two smoke alarms – around $310 For more information or to book your smoke alarm installation, get in touch with Mr Glow Electrical today. We’re your local, fast and reliable electrician here to service Sydney.