With a legislation changing soon for residential properties being sold or leased in Queensland it is time to make sure smoke alarms at your properties are interconnected. There are three ways to interconnect smoke alarms… Wired interconnection, wireless interconnection or a combination of the two.
Wired interconnection is a very “hands on” way of ensuring alarms are interconnected. Cables need to be run between every alarm. This set up usually creates a domino effect whereby one alarm going off triggers the next, and then one after the other they all are triggered by the one before. Wired interconnection requires an electrician to install. In some instances, it may be very difficult to wired interconnection. Especially if it is a multi-story dwelling, part of a unit complex or has roof cavities with access complications.
To solve the difficulties associated with putting new wire into a property many smoke alarm manufacturers offer models with wireless interconnection capability. Wireless interconnection works using radio waves and the alarms have a built-in mechanism for sending and receiving a unique frequency. Usually there is a process taken to set the frequency and sync all the alarms. When one goes off, they all go off.
Wireless interconnection can be programmed by anyone. We recommend always referring to the user manual for the alarm being programmed as all models have different set up methods.
Combination of Wired and Wireless Interconnection:
Your property may not be compliant yet as it is without alarms in bedrooms, but it already has smoke alarms in halls and living spaces that are interconnected with wire. In this instance you might want to add “wirelessly interconnected” alarms to the bedrooms while keeping the existing wired interconnections in place. This can easily be done. One of the alarms connected to the wired network can be replaced with an alarm that has wireless capability.
Usually this would be a mains power alarm with a wireless base plate. Then the other new alarms in the bedrooms can interconnect wirelessly with it, effectively joining the new wireless alarms to the existing wired network. If you opt for this set up, you should consider upgrading all the existing alarms too as it is highly likely they either do not comply with the new regulations or will soon pass their expiry date.
When would you choose to have wireless interconnection?
Wireless interconnection offers an easy solution for any property. The devices are more expensive than ones without wireless technology, however you may save money on labour costs and you may find you have no other choice. If your property lacks an easily workable roof cavity in any of the locations requiring an alarm, you will most likely need to go “wireless”.