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Smoke detectors - Legal requirements

Do I need to install a smoke detector

Owners of existing homes are required to have installed either:

  • A battery-operated smoke alarm; or
  • Alarms connected to the mains supply (240 volt with a battery back-up).

Home buyers have 6 months from the date of transfer of the property title to install either:

  • A mains hard-wired alarm (with battery back-up); or
  • A 10 year, permanently connected, non-removeable, non-replaceable lithium battery-powered alarm

Where should I install my smoke detector?

When deciding on the position of smoke alarms it is important to remember that they are intended to detect smoke before it reaches the sleeping occupants of a building. Depending on the layout of your home, it may be necessary to have more than one smoke alarm to provide sufficient warning.

Ideally detectors should be located centrally in a passage between the living areas and the bedrooms. Please note that the location of each detector is important to ensure correct operation.

For further information, see the House Fire page on the SA Government website.

Maintenance of smoke alarms

For smoke alarms to continue to be effective it is important that they be adequately maintained by regular testing according to the manufacturers instructions. Batteries should be changed once a year or if a 'battery low' warning 'beep' is emitted. Ensure that the appropriate battery is used for the smoke alarm you have installed. (Refer to the manufacturer's instructions.) An ideal time to change your battery is when you change your clocks back at the end of daylight saving.

At least every six months, remove dust, lint or cobwebs from the outside of the alarm using the soft brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner or a soft bristle brush. Any other cleaning should be done in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

Test the alarm after cleaning.

Life expectancy of smoke alarms

Smoke alarms have a recommended service life of 10 years under normal operating conditions (AS 3786) after which time South Australia's fire services strongly recommend they should be replaced with a hard wired (240v) photo-electric smoke alarm.

Disposal of smoke detectors

Old smoke detectors may be disposed of by placing in the general rubbish bin.  No more than two detectors should be placed in any bin load of rubbish.