Who Is Responsible For Smoke Alarms?
As a Tenant, it is your responsibility to change the batteries and maintain the smoke alarms.
As a Landlord, it is your responsibility to provide smoke alarms in the property
General Maintenance Of Smoke Alarms
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions – smoke alarms need very little maintenance. A few minutes of your time during the year will ensure that your alarm is working and could help save your life. You should:
- Change the batteries once a year on a date that you can remember easily, like your birthday (unless it’s a ten-year alarm).
- After 10 years, it’s best to get a whole new alarm. Like most electrical goods, they can stop working – it is better to change them before this happens.
- Check your smoke alarm regularly.
- Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
- Have at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home; these ideally should be in the hallways, as they are your escape routes.
- It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms - when one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
- If you wear a hearing aid, can you hear the alarms when you are not wearing the hearing aid, e.g. at night?
- People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
Which Smoke Alarm Should I Choose?
The Different Types Of Smoke Alarms
- Ionisation: These are the cheapest and cost very little to purchase. They are very sensitive to small particles of smoke produced by fast flaming fires, such as paper and wood, and will detect this type of fire before the smoke gets too thick. They can also be too over-sensitive near kitchens.
- Optical: These are more expensive but more effective at detecting larger particles of smoke produced by slow-burning fires, such as smouldering foam-filled upholstery and overheated PVC wiring. Optical alarms can be installed near (not in) kitchens, as they are less likely than Ionisation alarms to go off when toast is burned.
- Heat Alarms: They detect the increase in temperature from a fire and are insensitive to smoke. They can therefore be installed in kitchens. They only cover a relatively small area of a room, so potentially several heat alarms need to be installed in a large kitchen.
- Combined Optical Smoke and Heat Alarms: Combinations of optical and heat alarms in one unit to reduce false alarms while increasing the speed of detection.