Information smoke detectors
Types of detectors
- Smoke detector: detects smoke and then goes into alarm. The smoke detectors for private individuals in the Netherlands are almost always so-called optical smoke detectors. There is a kind of light beam in an optical detector. If this light beam is disturbed by smoke particles, the detector will alarm.
- Heat detector: a heat detector does not react to smoke but continuously measures the ambient temperature. If it exceeds a certain value (usually 60 ° C), it will alarm. A heat detector is very useful for areas where a smoke detector cannot be placed due to, for example, steam, dust and exhaust gases. Think of the bathroom, kitchen and garage. Heat detectors react less quickly in a fire than smoke detectors.
- Carbon monoxide detector / CO detector: a carbon monoxide detector warns of an excessive concentration of the odorless and deadly carbon monoxide gas. For more information on carbon monoxide detectors, click here.
In which areas should smoke detectors be installed?
Apart from the legal obligations (see bottom of this page), smoke detectors should hang in all areas where (logically) a fire can occur. To make it easy, we have described 3 levels of fire safety for you: 1) Minimum fire safety: place smoke detectors where they are required by law (see bottom of this page). 2) Normal fire safety: place smoke detectors on all corridors, landing, halls, bedrooms, study rooms and the living room. If you have a closed kitchen, place a heat detector here. 3) Maximum fire safety: place smoke detectors in all areas. Place a heat alarm in a private kitchen. Only place a smoke detector in the toilet if, for example, candles are lit here regularly. Only place a heat alarm in the bathroom if a fire can logically start here, for example due to a short circuit. Place a heat alarm in a garage. Our advice is to provide bedrooms with a smoke detector. When you sleep, your smell is turned off, you don't smell anything. Only your hearing still works. Nowadays, more and more electrical equipment such as televisions and chargers can be found in bedrooms, which can cause a fire. Also, more and more devices are powered by (lithium-ion) batteries that can cause a short circuit. Burning the smoke from this battery is extremely toxic (hydrogen fluoride) and timely warning is therefore of vital importance. In addition, many people sleep with the bedroom door closed, so you will not be woken up for a fire in your bedroom until the smoke detector goes off in the hallway. It is then too late for you…
Where to confirm smoke detectors?
You attach smoke detectors to the ceiling because smoke rises and accumulates at the ceiling. You can attach the smoke detector to the ceiling using drill or use adhesive strips with magnets. Smoke detectors should preferably be installed in the center of the room on the ceiling. The distance from a smoke detector to a wall must be 0.5 meters. This is a so-called dead air space where there is almost no circulation. This would make it very long before the detector goes off. If the space is narrower than 1 meter, the distance to the wall may be smaller, but never less than 0.1 meter. If the room has a pointed roof, do not install the smoke detector in the tip but 90 cm lower. Do not place a smoke detector above a radiator or other combustion appliance or near a ventilation grille. Smoke detector lifetime What many people do not know is that smoke detectors have a maximum lifespan of 10 years. This is because the sensor becomes contaminated by dust, etc., so that operation cannot be guaranteed. It is possible that the detector will give more false reports after its maximum life due to dust in the sensor chamber or that it will not report if there is actually a fire. The “end of life” date is stated on the smoke detector, usually on the back. After this date, the detector must be completely replaced. Tip: put this date in the agenda of the smartphone. The government also indicates in the new legislation that will take effect on 1 July 2022 that smoke detectors have a lifespan of 10 years.
There are several power supplies for detectors:
- Interchangeable batteries, usually AA, AAA or E (9V block)
- A fixed li-ion battery that lasts a long time and is not interchangeable
- A connection to the mains (230V) + backup battery for when the power goes out
* Never use rechargeable batteries in smoke detectors. Due to their characteristic current delivery, it is possible that the detector does not give a “battery empty” signal, so that a non-functioning smoke detector is hanging in the house.
Of all the above power supplies, there is not necessarily a best or worst option. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages. Whichever power supply you choose: all detectors must be completely replaced after 10 years (see chapter “Smoke detector lifetime”).
The disadvantage of exchangeable batteries is that you have to replace the batteries periodically. AA / AAA batteries last 2-3 years and an E battery (9V block) approximately 1-2 years. The smoke detector itself indicates this by a specific sound signal. Often this is also at night around 4:00 am because the temperature in the house is then the lowest. The battery voltage that is already on the tight side at that time, becomes even less due to the cold at night. The advantage of exchangeable batteries is that you regularly have the detector in your hands and you are reminded to clean it once with a vacuum cleaner.
The big advantage of smoke detectors with a built-in lithium-ion battery is that you do not have to replace the battery during its lifetime. At the end of its life, replace the smoke detector completely.
A smoke detector that can be connected to the mains (230V) is mainly placed in new-build homes because this is mandatory. There is not necessarily an advantage with regard to power supply. A 230V detector also has a backup battery that must be replaced periodically.
Calculation of various power supplies for 10 years:
- Interchangeable battery AA / AAA: € 19.95 (detector) + € 2 (replace 3/4 batteries) = € 21.95
- Interchangeable battery 9V: € 19.95 (detector) + € 6 (5 batteries replaced) = € 25.95
- Fixed battery 10 years: only the detector: € 19.95
- 230V + backup battery: € 19.95 (detector) + € 6 (5 batteries replaced) = € 25.95
Link smoke detectors
Some smoke detectors can be linked together. This can be done via a wire or wireless. If 1 detector goes off, the other linked detectors also go off. This is especially useful in homes where you cannot hear the smoke detectors throughout the home. For example, if a fire starts in the attic and you are watching television downstairs, you may not hear the smoke detector in the attic. Because the smoke detectors are linked, the smoke detector in the living room also goes off. Even if you sleep you may not hear the smoke detectors on other floors, but if you connect the smoke detectors, the smoke detector in your bedroom or on the landing will also go off and you will still be warned.
Maintenance of smoke detectors
A smoke detector must be tested monthly so that you can be sure that the detectors actually work. In addition, a smoke detector can be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner if it is dusty or has cobwebs around it. After 10 years you replace a smoke detector completely.
Legislation: New construction since 2003
According to the 2012 Building Decree, smoke detectors are mandatory in new-build homes that have been built since 2003. These smoke detector (s) are mandatory in all rooms that are part of the escape route between the entrance of the house (front or back door) and all communal areas. Living areas are the living room, bedrooms, office and kitchen and not the toilet, bathroom, garage, storage room and technical room. If the space consists of several floors or floors, at least one smoke detector must be fitted on each floor. In practice, this often means that smoke detectors are mandatory in the hall, landing and corridor. These must be connected to the mains (230V) and have a secondary energy supply (backup battery). This is regulated in the NEN 2555: 2008 standard. In fact, multiple smoke detectors do not have to be linked to each other, were it not that the NEN 2555: 2008 states that the noise level in all living areas must be at least 65 dB (A) and in bedrooms at least 75 dB (A). These values are only achieved if the walls are made of cardboard and so the coupling of smoke detectors is necessary to comply with the legislation. This coupling can be realized both via a coupling wire and wirelessly. The above rules also apply to buildings that change from another function to a residential function.
Legislation: existing build
As of July 1, 2022, smoke detectors are also mandatory in existing homes. The building decree will be amended for this. A smoke detector is compulsory on every floor (building level) if there is a lounge or a confined space on that building layer, through which an escape route runs between the exit of a lounge and the exit of a residential function. Living areas are the living room, bedrooms, office and kitchen and not the toilet, bathroom, garage, storage room and technical room. An attic that is not used as a living space does not need to have a smoke detector. If there is no living space on the ground floor, but a closed space, such as a corridor, through which an escape route leads to the upper floor, a smoke detector must also be present there. In the case of a one-room apartment, where the living space is directly adjacent to the exit of a residential function, a smoke detector must also be fitted. In contrast to new-build homes, smoke detectors in existing buildings do not need to be connected to the electricity network (230V), but may operate on batteries. Nor do they need to be able to be linked. The smoke detectors must, however, comply with EN 14604. The smoke detectors in question also have a lifespan of 10 years. This means that the smoke detector must be replaced every ten years.
Selection guide for smoke detectors
As you have read above, there are several choices to be made with regard to smoke detectors. Dozens of different smoke detectors are offered at many webshops and hardware stores with varying quality and costs. In our webshop you will find a limited offer. This is because we have already done the research for you. We only sell good Alecto smoke detectors for a good price that comply with (N) EN 14604. These smoke detectors are also recommended by the Consumers' Association. So why look any further? Good is good, right? The only choice you have to make yourself is whether you want linked smoke detectors and what level of fire safety you want (see chapter “In which rooms should you place a smoke detector?”).
- Do you want linked smoke detectors? Then choose the Alecto SA-41 and SA-43. These are identical smoke detectors, only the SA-43 is sold per 3 pieces.
- Do you not want linked detectors? Then choose the Alecto SA-110. You do not need to replace the battery throughout its 10-year lifetime. Read more? Check the website of the fire brigade.