New smoke alarm laws have come into effect in Scotland on Tuesday February 1 which require homeowners to take additional steps to ensure their smoke and fire alarms meet new building safety standards, first introduced in 2019 after the Grenfell Tower fire.
The Scottish Government has faced increased criticism from opposition parties over the law change and calls for further delays to its rollout amid confusion over new fire alarm requirements.
But the new smoke alarm and fire alarm rules are now in place in Scotland, meaning that many homeowners across the country will need to check if their existing smoke alarm system is interlinked or needs an upgrade.
So, what are interlinked smoke alarms? And where can you get them?
Here’s what you need to know about the new interlinked fire alarm law in Scotland.
What is Scotland’s new smoke alarm law?
According to the new law, each home must now have a smoke alarm installed in the room used most frequently used for general daytime living purposes, as well as one further smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings.
Alongside these, you must also have a heat alarm installed in every kitchen under the new rules.
All alarms as cited above must be ceiling mounted and interlinked – meaning that when one alarm detects smoke, your other, connected alarms throughout your home will be set off.
Where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance such as boilers, fires - including open fires - and heaters or a flue, a carbon monoxide detector is also required, but this does not need to be interlinked to the fire alarm system.
The new changes see existing rules around interlinked smoke alarm systems which have applied in private rented homes and new builds over the last decade to now be widened to include owner-occupied homes and those living in social rented housing.
Councils across Scotland will be legally required to monitor the compliance of homes with the new smoke alarm regulations.
How many smoke alarms do I need in Scotland?
The number of smoke alarms you will need to have in your home can vary based on its size, but under the new Scottish fire and smoke alarm rules every home must have:
- One smoke alarm in the living room or the room you use most
- One smoke alarm in every hallway or landing
- One heat alarm in the kitchen
What are interlinked smoke alarms?
Interlinked fire alarms are a series of fire or smoke alarms which are connected to each other.
This means that in the case of a fire in one room of a property, one alarm in that room will set off others located throughout the property to ensure that everyone is able to hear the fire alarms go off in a far away room and get to safety.
Interlinked systems are connected through radio frequency and do not have to be wired or connected to WiFi.
The average cost of installing such systems in a three bedroom home is roughly £220, according to the Scottish Government, which is a much higher cost than the standalone models used in the past.
Where can I get interlinked smoke alarms?
With the legal requirement to have interlinked smoke alarms in homes falling on home or property owners in Scotland, you must get your own interlinked smoke alarm system if you are a home owner.
You won’t be penalised by the Government if you don’t install interlinked fire alarms, but you will be at further risk from potential fires and smoke in your home.
Elderly and disabled citizens, along with those identified as at greater risk, will receive additional assistance to install new fire alarms which meet the new building standards following the announcement of further funding from the Scottish Government.
Many hardware shops and online stores will outline which fire and smoke alarms are compliant with Scottish 2022 smoke alarm regulations, but be sure to double check if smoke alarms comply with regulations before purchasing.