Why don’t you have a fire alarm?

Mains Smoke alarms
Smoke alarms are nothing new but recent events have thrown fire safety in to the spotlight. As an Electrician I visit a lot of properties in Eltham, Sidcup, Swanley and surrounding areas & one thing that is striking is very few actually have any kind of working smoke detection installed.

Having a working smoke alarm system is vital if the worst does happen and there is a fire in your property. As an Electrician I have seen 1st hand the devastation left behind after a fire and believe it should be essential to have these life saving devices installed in all domestic properties.

Whether you choose to install battery operated alarms or mains interlinked smoke alarms you should regularly test them by pressing the test button on the front of the unit to ensure they are working correctly throughout their life.

In some circumstance LABC (Local Authority Building Control) will insist on having mains smoke alarms fitted to your property if you carry out building works, such as:

– A Loft conversion
– A new habitable room above ground floor level (bedrooms, kitchens, living room, dining room)
– A new habitable room on the ground floor without a final exit to outdoors.
The requiremens for smoke alarms in such circumstance are:

– Each habitable room must have a smoke alarm fitted within 7.5m & circulation spaces such as landings and hallways will be required to have a smoke alarm installed also
– Alarms must be installed a minimum of 300mm from walls and light fittings
– Heat alarms are to be installed in Kitchen if necessary (not smoke alarms as this will cause false alarms)
– Ensure the electrical installation meets Part P of the building regulations
Below we look at some of the pros and cons of both battery smoke alarms & a mains interlinked smoke alarm system.

Battery operated smoke alarms

Cheap and easy to install
Doesn’t require a professional to install for you
Easy to maintain.

Will only alert you if the fire is near enough to the alarm to set it off
Other alarms will not sound until the fire spread enough to set them off

Mains interlinked smoke alarms

Will set off all interlinked alarms throughout property if 1 alarm is activated
Have battery back up installed incase of mains electrical failure
Offers a higher grade of protection than standalone battery units.
Can be set up to have accessories installed including current alarm status reports sent to your phone.

Initial cost to set up is higher than standalone battery version
The smoke heads themselves will require replacing (usually after 10 years).

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