Alarming news for private landlords

Rex Taylor, Technical Support Manager of Kidde Safety, discusses the latest developments and trends in the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm markets, from new Regulations for rented properties to demand for energy saving products.

Regulations were recently announced requiring private landlords in England to install and check smoke alarms and, in some instances, carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, increasing market potential. Awaiting parliamentary approval, the draft Regulations should apply to private rented premises occupied on or after 1st October.

Once implemented, new Regulations will require a smoke alarm on every floor where there is accommodation and also a CO alarm in any habitable rooms with a solid fuel appliance. Although the draft Regulations don’t stipulate the type of alarms, it seems that both battery and mains products will comply.

Cost effective over the longer term

Importantly, the landlord, managing agent or other representative must also check that alarms work at the start of each tenancy and replace any that do not. With this in mind, many existing older alarms may well be replaced to make compliance easier for those responsible for managing properties, in addition to fitting alarms where none currently exist. Here, the latest generation of 10-year guarantee alarms can help landlords meet their obligations over the longer term, cost-effectively.

Kidde 10-year CO and smoke alarms

For example, Kidde’s self-contained 10LLCO range of carbon monoxide alarms and 10Y29 compact optical smoke alarm all enjoy full 10-year guarantees covering both the alarm and sealed-in lithium battery. The alarms are full of features but small in size with a slim profile and come with slide-on back plates, while a tamper resisting self-locking installation system avoids battery theft.

Alternatively, landlords may choose to install hard-wired mains smoke alarms with back-up power, as recommended in the BS 5839, Part 6: 2103 Code of Practice for all rented properties. And interconnected, hard-wired alarms are already a legal requirement in all Scottish rented properties. Here, Kidde offers a wide range of products from both its Firex and Slick ranges.

Saving energy, saving lives

In fact the new Firex range, launched this June, highlights a growing demand for low energy consumption products. The latest range offers a particularly important benefit for tenants and housing providers with a substantially lower, maximum mains energy consumption of less than 15mA – in the order of just 3.5W and less than many household items left on standby.

This represents a 70% energy saving over previous models, ensuring significantly lower running costs and improving a building’s sustainability credentials. It will also appeal to house-builders, adding to their low-energy offer to buyers.

For many years, Firex has proved itself as a popular range of cost-effective hard-wired alarms for all types of housing, satisfying Building Regulations and British Standards requirements.

Additions to the latest range also reflect a trend towards wider product choice, with optical and ionisation smoke alarms and heat alarms now available with Standard, Long Life and Rechargeable battery back-up versions of each sensing technology – giving nine options in all. All new Firex alarms are fully compatible with previous models.

Smart Interconnect

Up to 23 Firex alarms can be interlinked creating a network for protection throughout the home. Firex can also form part of Kidde’s ‘Smart Interconnect’ feature, interlinking the company’s hard-wired smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms.

Firex Packs PR

When a smoke or heat alarm is triggered, all the interconnected alarms – including CO alarms – activate to alert occupants of fire. Similarly, when a Kidde hard-wired CO alarm is triggered by carbon monoxide, all the interconnected CO and Firex alarms activate.

Crucially, both the CO and Firex alarms have different, distinct alarm sounder patterns for carbon monoxide or fire, as required by BS 5839 Part 6:2013. So, without the need for any further operation of the system (such as remote switches), Smart Interconnect quickly alerts occupants of the specific hazard that confronts them, enabling the right actions for either fire or carbon monoxide to be chosen.

Other new Firex features include an Alarm Memory Function where a flashing LED continues after an alarm has been triggered to easily and quickly identify the source unit. The three new optical alarms now include dust compensation and a bug screen to help minimise nuisance alarms.

Firex is manufactured and supplied exclusively by Kidde, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation. All Firex alarms are BSi ‘kitemark’ certified and enjoy a full 6-year guarantee, supported by a major manufacturer. The company is committed to providing first class service to all its customers and trading partners.