Changes to Smoke Alarm Laws:
Residential properties that are subject to sale, or for rent are now required under the Building Regulations 2012 to have compliant mains powered smoke alarms installed.
Battery powered smoke alarms may be installed where consumer mains power is not connected to the dwelling or where there is no hidden space in the existing dwelling in which to run the necessary wiring for hard wired smoke alarms, for example where there is a concrete ceiling.
The use of battery powered smoke alarms in any other circumstance must be approved by the local government. (Battery powered smoke alarms must have a non-removable 10 year life battery). Owners should be aware that it is unlawful to install battery powered smoke alarms just because it is more convenient to do so.
How to Maintain Smoke Alarms:
Check the alarms are firmly secured in the correct location – Double sided tape is not acceptable – so make sure you do it properly.
Check the required power source is connected and operating. Where a mains powered smoke alarm is installed, alarms will have a visual display /light to indicate that mains power is connected and this should be easily seen when standing beneath
Test the smoke alarm during routine inspections, or at least every six months
Check the smoke alarm(s) for a build-up of dust and cobwebs. Vacuum around the smoke alarm vents with a soft brush at least every 6 months
Check the smoke alarms are within their service life. Smoke alarms require replacement every 10 years. The date for replacement is often located on the unit.
Replacing batteries annually, where appropriate. Mains powered smoke alarms have back-up batteries – they can either be a 9V battery which requires to be changed annually while some models have a rechargeable non removable battery which does not need to be changed during the life of the unit.
This maintenance routine should be done at each inspection or at intervals otherwise stated. Please note: A licensed electrical contractor is required to disconnect or install mains powered smoke alarms. All other smoke alarm maintenance does not require a licensed electrical contractor