Q: Does Quickcheck offer an emergency smoke alarm service?
A: Quickcheck office hours are Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm. If your smoke alarm is activating and you suspect a fire, immediately leave the building and call Triple Zero (000).
Quickcheck installs and services smoke alarms during business hours, either as a one-off service or for members of our Annual Compliance Program. We do not have an emergency of after hours service but will attend as soon as possible during working hours, usually the next business day.
Please Note: Our Annual Compliance Program does not include out of hours services OR cover the cost for another contractor to attend out of hours.
Q: How do I tell if my smoke alarms are ionisation or photoelectric?
A: The smoke alarm's label should clearly say whether it is an ionisation or photoelectric smoke alarm. If not, you will see a bright yellow and black ‘radiation’ symbol inside or on the back of an ionisation alarm.
Q: How can I tell if my smoke alarms are "hardwired"?
A: "Hardwired" smoke alarms are also known as "mains powered" or "240 Volt". They are connected to the building's electricity supply and have a small green light to show that the smoke alarm is receiving mains power.
Q: My smoke alarms are hardwired, why do they have a battery?
A: Hardwired smoke alarms have a back-up battery so that they will still work if the mains power is cut in an emergency.
Q: Do hardwired smoke alarms expire?
A: All smoke alarms have a 10 year service life and should be replaced 10 years from year of manufacture.
Q: What does it mean if my smoke alarms are "interconnected"?
A: Interconnection is when one smoke alarm detects smoke or activates, all smoke alarms sound the warning to everyone in the property. Smoke alarms can be interconnected by cables in the ceiling space or by wireless (radio signal) interconnection.
Q: Why do my smoke alarms beep or chirp?
A: Smoke alarms make two different sounds:
- a VERY LOUD, rapid BEEP BEEP BEEP noise that is impossible to ignore. This means that the smoke alarm has detected particles in the air and is activating. If there is no fire or smoke, the smoke alarm is false-activating, or
- a consistent soft beeping or chirping sound about once every minute that sounds like a bird or a chirping cricket means that the battery needs replacing. If chirping is intermittent or in rapid succession the battery may be flat or there could be a fault in the wiring or the alarm.
Q: What do the lights on my smoke alarm mean?
A: A green LED indicates the alarm is operating on mains power. A red LED will flash once approximately every 5 minutes to indicate unit is functioning properly.
Q: Why isn't there a smoke alarm in the kitchen?
A: Smoke alarms are designed to wake you if there is a fire. If a smoke alarm is located near a kitchen, it will almost always cause false activations.
SMOKE ALARM PROBLEMS
Q: My smoke alarms keep beeping even after I changed the battery. What can I do to fix this?
A: If the smoke alarm is making a VERY LOUD, rapid BEEP BEEP BEEP noise, it is false activating. However, if the beep is a soft noise like the chirping of a bird or a cricket, about once every minute:
- the new battery may be flat, or incorrectly installed, or
- there may be a fault in the wiring or the alarm.
Call Quickcheck on 4159 1997 to arrange a smoke alarm service. Or, for rental properties, contact your property manager who will send us a work order.
Q: My smoke alarms are interconnected. When one activates, they all activate. How do I tell which one is false-activating?
A: Look for the one that has a rapidly flashing or solid RED indicator light.
Troubleshooting for interconnected smoke alarms:
- The red LED will flash every second on the alarm that is causing the activation. Pressing the HUSH button on this alarm will silence the false activating alarms. The button can be gently pressed with a broom handle if the alarm cannot be reached. Use of the HUSH button silences the alarms for approximately 9 minutes and the red LED will flash every 10 seconds.
- If the HUSH button doesn't silence the alarm or if after the 9 minutes the alarms re-activate then you may need to remove the alarm that has the red LED flashing every second.
- To remove the problematic smoke alarm, look for “SLIDE TO REMOVE”. Push in the direction of the arrow until the alarm slides off the base plate. Remove battery.
- For rental properties, contact your property manager who will ask Quickcheck to arrange service. Or, call Quickcheck on 4159 1997 during business hours.
- Contact us for copies of our handy instruction sheets (for properties that have been upgraded by us)!
Q: What is causing my smoke alarms to false-activate?
A: Many things can cause smoke alarms to false-activate. Smoke alarms are designed to detect small particles in the air. Small particles other than smoke particles will also cause smoke alarms to activate, such as:
- condensation (small airborne water particles),
- household dust or dust from building or renovation work,
- insect infestation (small insects or insect debris in the sensor),
- fumes and vapours (paint fumes, insect spray, air fresheners)
- in coastal areas, salt incursion.
Other possible reasons are:
- electrical interference in hardwired alarms,
- radio signal interference in wirelessly interconnected smoke alarms,
- failure of the smoke alarm.
Useful tips for avoiding false activations:
- Keep smoke alarms clean and free of cobwebs.
- Vacuum around the alarms on a regular basis.
- Use insect/surface spray around the general area of the smoke alarm/s.
Q: How can I tell what is causing my smoke alarms to false-activate?
A: Determining the cause of a false activation can be a complex task with many factors to consider. Quickcheck's many years of experience specialising in smoke alarms has provided our electricians with the knowledge to quickly identify and correct the causes of false activations. Call Quickcheck on 4159 1997 for assistance.
Q: Why does the shower set the smoke alarms off?
A: Condensation in the smoke alarm sensor will cause smoke alarms to activate.
If possible, close the bathroom door while showering and open a window or switch an extractor fan on before showering.
It may also be possible to move the smoke alarm to a different location -- contact Quickcheck on 4159 1997 to see if this can be done.
Q: Why does cooking set the smoke alarms off?
A: If cooking makes smoke (even if you only burn the toast!), smoke alarms will, of course, activate. At other times steam from cooking (condensation) in the smoke alarm sensor may cause the smoke alarm to activate.
If possible, improve ventilation in the kitchen by opening a window or switching on an extractor fan while cooking.
Q: My smoke alarms went off in the middle of the night and nothing was on, why?
A: The probable reasons why a smoke alarm may activate at night or early in the morning are:
- condensation due to changes in temperature during high humidity,
- dust accumulation,
- insect infestation.
Q: Why would the smoke alarms go off in a vacant property?
A: The most likely cause is condensation due to high humidity and lack of ventilation because all the windows and doors are closed.
Q: I think my smoke alarms are going off due to condensation. What can I do to fix this?
A: You can:
- use a hair dryer on low heat to blow warm air into the smoke alarm (NEVER use medium or hot settings, it may damage the smoke alarm),
- remove a smoke alarm from its base plate and put the smoke alarm in the sun for a few hours to dry it. Remember to re-install the smoke alarm before going to bed.
- improve ventilation.
Q: Why do my smoke alarms keep beeping or chirping?
A: A smoke alarm may continue to chirp after it has activated. If you silenced the alarm using the "HUSH" button, the chirp may continue for up to 15 minutes.
Q: How do I know when to replace the battery in my smoke alarm?
A: Smoke alarms will make a chirping sound like a bird or cricket about once every minute to tell you to replace a battery.
Q: My smoke alarm keeps activating even though there is no fire. What do I do?
A: If your smoke alarm keeps false-activating and you are sure that there is no fire:
- release the smoke alarm from its base plate,
- remove the battery from the smoke alarm,
- for rental properties, contact your property manager who will ask us to check the smoke alarm/s.
- call Quickcheck on 4159 1997 (during business hours) to arrange to check the smoke alarm/s.
Q: How do I release a smoke alarm from its base plate?
A: To release a smoke alarm from its base plate, follow the directions on the smoke alarm. Usually you:
- twist it anticlockwise, or
- press a button and slide it towards the side of the test button, or
- press a release button to flip it open on a hinge, or
- slide smoke alarm cover in direction of arrow as shown on cover.
OWNER SMOKE ALARM QUESTIONS
Q: I own a rental property, can I test the smoke alarms myself?
A: The owner of a rental property is responsible for testing and cleaning smoke alarms (and replacing batteries if required) within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy. However, this is a complex process best left to an affordable specialist service provider like Quickcheck who:
- will make sure that this is done correctly and on time,
- provides written third-party verification that smoke alarms complied,
- has appropriate insurance.
Q: I pay an agent to manage my property, why don't they test my smoke alarms?
A: Property managers do not have the knowledge, test equipment, tools and ladders. Most agents strongly advise owners to use a specialist service provider such as Quickcheck.
Q: My property manager has staff or a handyman who tests my smoke alarms. Why should I use a specialist service provider such as Quickcheck?
A: Smoke alarm compliance and maintenance involves more than pressing a test button and replacing a battery. Quickcheck's services are conducted by industry specialists and licensed electricians, who will make sure that smoke alarms:
- are located correctly,
- are within their specified service life,
- meet performance requirements, and
- do not have batteries that are about to go flat
TENANT SMOKE ALARM QUESTIONS
Q: I’ve received an Entry Notice, can I change the time?
A: If you would like to be home while we service smoke alarms or perform other services, please call Quickcheck on 4159 1997 and we will do our best to arrange a mutually convenient time.
Q: I’ve got an Entry Notice, do I have to be home?
A: No, the property manager will give us keys so that we can enter to service smoke alarms or perform other services.
Q: When should my smoke alarms get checked?
A: The requirement is that smoke alarms are checked within 30 days before the start or renewal of a tenancy and at least once every twelve months during the tenancy. Quickcheck works with your property manager to arrange smoke alarm services as required.
Q: What should I do if I’m having problems with my smoke alarm?
A: Promptly let your property manager know about the problem.
Q: Do I have to pay for the smoke alarm check?
A: No, the landlord pays for smoke alarm checks.
Q: I've changed the batteries, do the smoke alarms still need to be checked?
A: Yes, Quickcheck has to test that the smoke alarms are working and replace them if they are faulty or past the end of their service life.
Q: As a tenant, what are my responsibilities for smoke alarms?
A: Tenants must:
- regularly test smoke alarms (once a month is recommended),
- keep smoke alarms clean,
- replace flat or nearly flat batteries in smoke alarms,
- tell the property manager about problems with smoke alarms,
- not remove a smoke alarm or the battery, and
- not do anything to reduce the effectiveness of the smoke alarm (such as paint it).
Q: How do I clean a smoke alarm?
A: 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.
Q: How do I test a smoke alarm?
A: Using a broom handle, press and hold the test button on the alarm for at least five seconds until you hear a loud BEEP BEEP.
Q: How do I know that the battery has to be replaced?
A: When a battery is going flat the smoke alarm will make a chirping sound like a bird or cricket about once every minute.
Q: What is a safety switch?
A: Safety switches provide personal protection against electric shock. They monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit and turn off the power in a fraction of a second if they detect a leakage of current to "earth".
Q: What safety switches are required for rental properties?
A: All rental properties in Queensland are required to have safety switches fitted to power point circuits.
Q: What safety switches are required for sale properties?
A: If you sell a domestic property in Queensland:
- if safety switches are installed for power point circuits, this must be declared on sales contract documents, or
- if safety switches are not installed for power point circuits, the buyer must install them within three months.
Q: My property already has a safety switch, do I need additional ones?
A: You should consider having safety switches installed on all circuits, including lights, air conditioning, oven, hot water and pool equipment circuits.
Contact Quickcheck's friendly team on 4159 1997 to upgrade the circuit protection in your property.
Q: How do I tell whether a circuit has a safety switch?
A: Safety switches are often confused with circuit breakers. Both can be used to switch off the power to a circuit, but only safety switches have a button with T or TEST on them. These buttons can be different shapes and colours.
Q: What is the difference between a safety switch and a circuit breaker?
A: Safety switches and circuit breakers perform different tasks.
Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit and turn off the power in a fraction of a second if they detect a leakage of current. They provide personal protection against electric shock. Circuit breakers protect an electrical circuit by quickly cutting power when there is too much current flowing through it. They protect electrical wiring and connected appliances.
Q: I got a zap when I was changing a light bulb. Why didn't the safety switch go off?
A: Did the light circuit have safety switch fitted? A safety switch only protects you if it's on that circuit.
If all circuits were protected by a single safety switch, or if the circuit had a safety switch, the safety switch could be faulty. Call Quickcheck on 4159 1997 to check it immediately.
Q: How often should I test my safety switches?
A: You should test safety switches every three months to make sure that they are working properly.
Q: My current service provider, or property manager's staff member or handyman, tests the safety switches. Why should I get Quickcheck to check them?
A: Pressing a test button does not ensure that safety switches are installed properly or operating within the required time. Dust and debris can cause safety switches to function slowly or not function at all. Quickcheck's safety switch tests are conducted by licensed electricians who generate a fault to check that the safety switch trips within the required time. Our team carries a range of quality safety switches and are able to cost effectively replace a safety switch that is not functioning correctly.
Q: How do I test my safety switches?
A: Let everyone know you are about to test your safety switches, especially if they're using a computer or recording something on TV.
At the switchboard, press the T or TEST button on the safety switch. If it immediately flicks off the power, it is working. If it has not immediately cut the power to the circuit, you are no longer protected and you should call Quickcheck on 4159 1997 (during business hours).
After testing, turn the safety switch back on. For circuits with a refrigerator or air conditioner, wait for two to three minutes to avoid possible appliance damage.
Q: What do I do if the safety switch went off and won’t turn back on?
A: Switch off everything on the circuit and see if the switch will now turn back on.
If the switch still won't turn back on, either one of the switches on the circuit is faulty or the safety switch is faulty. Call Quickcheck on 4159 1997 to check them.
If the switch will turn back on, press the T or TEST button to make sure that the switch is working correctly and turn the circuit back on. Now switch on everything on the circuit one by one. If the safety switch operates again, the light fitting or appliance that made it operate is faulty. Do not use the light fitting or appliance and call Quickcheck on 4159 1997 (during business hours).
Q: Is everything electrical in my home protected by a safety switch?
A: That depends on what has been installed in your switchboard. Sometimes a single, "whole of house" safety switch is installed, which will (inconveniently) cut the power to every circuit. It is common for power and light circuits to have separate safety switches. Sometimes safety switches protect water heaters, air conditioners and stoves.
Q: How do I know which circuits are covered by safety switches?
A: Look at the switchboard. Switches should be clearly marked. If the switch has a T or TEST button, it is a safety switch.
If the circuits are not clearly marked, or if there is more than one power or light circuit, you can find out what is protected by each safety switch by pressing its T or TEST button. Check to see which lights, power points or appliances are now off — these are protected by that safety switch.
If you are not sure, call Quickcheck on 4159 1997 to check and label the circuits on the switchboard.
Q: What can I do about nuisance power tripping?
A: Excessive tripping of your safety switch can be annoying. It might be a faulty electrical appliance or a high load from many appliances on that circuit.
At the switchboard, reset the safety switch that flicked off – if it trips again, disconnect all the appliances and plug them in one at a time until one trips the safety switch.
If an appliance continues to trip the safety switch, replace it or have it checked. Avoid touching the appliance while the power is on.