1. Do current regulations in Scotland require all private homes to have smoke alarms fitted?
There have been changes to legislation known as the “Tolerable Standard” in Scotland. It requires all households to have interlinked fire & smoke alarm systems, with appropriate carbon monoxide (CO) protection (where there is a fuel burning appliance or flue). This legislation was initially scheduled to come into force on February 2021, however, due to the Covid pandemic the implementation date has been extended to February 2022. This legislation applies to all private and rented homes. The purpose of the new legislation is to improve safety in the home. Whilst not legally required until February 2022, Capital City Electrical highly recommends undertaking this work as soon as possible.
2. What is the difference between a smoke alarm and a heat detector and do I need both?
These two types of detectors are fundamentally different:
- Heat detectors recognise a change in temperature and alarm accordingly. This will primarily protect property from fire damage.
- Smoke alarms do not recognise any changes in temperature; rather they recognise smoke via optical sensors or through a process known as ionization. Smoke alarms are designed to protect people and property
The updated legislation requires an integrated approach to fire safety with:
- one smoke alarm installed in the room used for general daytime living purposes
- one smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings
- one heat detector installed in the kitchen
- smoke alarms and heat detectors should be ceiling mounted
3. Do smoke alarms need to be interlinked?
Yes, all smoke alarms in the property must be interlinked; the installed heat detector must also be linked as part of the circuit. Alarms can be interlinked via wires (hardwired) or wirelessly (by radio communication).
4. What are the benefits of interlinked smoke alarms?
Interlinked alarms which communicate with or “talk” to each other form an integrated system of protection in the home, so that when one alarm detects a change in temperature or the presence of smoke, all alarms operate simultaneously, allowing you to hear the alarm no matter where you are in the house.
5. Do smoke alarms need to be mains wired?
No, two distinct methods comply with the new legislation:
- Mains-wired alarms (with battery back-up), which should be installed by a qualified electrician in accordance with BS7671
- Tamper proof, long-life, lithium battery alarms (not user replaceable)
6. What type smoke alarms do you recommend?
There is no one shoe fits all answer to this; a competent electrician will be able to advise you on what is best for your own particular circumstances.
- Tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms tends to be more expensive to buy but because they have no power wires, they are usually cheaper to install.
- Mains powered smoke alarms tend to be cheaper to buy but can cost more to install as they have to be wired into your electricity supply.
Interlinking can be achieved by hard wiring or by wireless connection.
7. What is the current smoke alarm requirement for rented properties in Scotland?
The updated legislation applies to all homes in Scotland, including rented accommodation. Additional guidance, Fire detection in private rented properties: guidance is available for landlords.
8. How long do lithium batteries smoke alarms last?
A good tamper proof, sealed lithium battery system will last for up to 10 years (please ensure you check & confirm warranty), the expiry date should be visible on each alarm, system should also have an “end of life” warning capability.
9. Do all homes need a CO detector?
A carbon monoxide detector is needed if there is a carbon-fuelled appliance in the home. This includes boilers, fires (including open fires) heaters or flue. This detector doesn’t need to be linked to the fire alarms.
10. How much do you charge for installing smoke alarms?
This depends on the type of system which best suits your home, the number of alarms required etc., we are highly competitive and happy to provide a free no obligation quote.
11. Is installing new smoke alarms a messy job?
There will potentially be more disruption and “finishing” required when installing a mains system as we must access your homes power supply and run wires. However as an company, Capital City Electrical pride ourselves on our professionalism and we will always deliver a tidy job.
12. Where is the best position for smoke alarms and heat detectors to be installed?
To work effectively, the correct positioning of smoke and heat alarms in your home is very important. This is usually mounted on the ceiling with plenty of space for air to circulate. However, we will be able to advise you more on what is best for your specific circumstances during our visit.