Smoke Alarm Testing Residential Properties & Hearing Loss.
I am a private tenant and have lived at this property (a two-bedroom flat) for the best part of 24 years. It seems a lifetime I know, and I could have bought a house but I have never been in a position to invest. Instead, I invest in digital real estate.
My article is about the hearing loss I have due to the extremely loud smoke alarms and heat detectors.
I have had two smoke alarms (landing /living room) and one heat detector in the kitchen in the last 3 years installed and have endured other incidents by an incompetent electrical company that has scammed my landlord and caused me monetary loss as well as health issues.
Does spraying smoke from an aerosol need to be done by a qualified electrician or can anyone do it?, it is laughable: Smoke Alarm Tester Sprays. To think my landlord has been charged for this and then passes the cost on to the tenant with rent rises.
My Digital Real Estate I Own.
Living in a residential property that does not belong to you, limits you with what you can and can’t say. The company that is scamming my landlord thinks I know jack sh#t about the law.
As a website designer, digital marketer, and content writer, I make it my business to learn about regulations.
I am actively promoting my client www.electricianswales.co.uk by coincidence is on the first page of search engines namely Google for the search terms ‘electricians wales’ and landlord ‘safety checks’.
So my grievance is with an electrical company that my landlord hires and has caused me considerable emotional distress, health issues as well as monetary loss. https://www.cymrumarketing.com/electrical-safety-5-year-checks/ It rattles me that not only have I had hearing problems which are documented in other articles I have written, I now have to have my morning disrupted because my word is not good enough to confirm my alarms and detector are working properly.
This is my client which I highly recommend.
SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
This is what the government says:
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force on 1 October 2015.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022 will come into force on 1 October 2022. From that date, all relevant landlords must:
1. Ensure at least one smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of their homes where a room is used as living accommodation. This has been a legal requirement in the private rented sector since 2015.
2. Ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room used as living accommodation that contains a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas cookers).
3. Ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once informed and found that they are faulty.
The requirements are enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 if a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.
This booklet provides information about the requirements, who they apply to, and how they are enforced. It is designed as a Q&A to cover the most common situations but it is not intended to cover every scenario, nor should it be seen as a substitute for reading the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2022.
These regulations should be considered alongside other relevant laws on fire and carbon monoxide safety in rented homes such as the Housing Act 2004, the Fire Safety Act 2021, and the Building Safety Act 2022.
It is the department’s intention to ensure this booklet is updated whenever there are changes, but it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that they are applying the relevant laws correctly.
If, after reading this booklet, you are not clear whether or how the requirements apply to your individual circumstances you should seek legal advice.
Separate guidance is available for local authorities.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (Amendment) Regulations 2022: guidance for landlords and tenants – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
So in the last 2-3 years, I have had this company, ‘ come to the property I rent, and this is what a sh#t show they have done up to now (or should I say have not in some cases).
- Carried Out a landlord safety inspection but did not provide a copy of the report to me because I could easily have argued and could have pulled them up about the fact my chandelier and the dimmer switch were never tested in my living room plus other things in the list. I do not use it as a consequence and just have floor lamps).
- The extension lead from the back of my washing machine was never hardwired. So if the washing machine sprung a leak there is an electric cable extension trailing on the floor.
- They failed to notice the hotspot behind my cooker which caused me a lot of money in takeouts one Christmas (Documented).
- They scammed the landlord by installing two lights on my landing on the same loop so when one lightbulb goes, it trips the second light, defeating the object of having to change a light bulb above a 30ft drop as it is situated directly on top of my stairs.
- They installed two smoke alarms on one floor and a heat detector in the kitchen (saying I needed a heat detector in the kitchen, a smoke alarm in my on the landing (10ft apart) as well as in the living room by law). Another scam for my landlord. It makes no sense to have a heat detector in the kitchen because the kitchen does get hot from the cooking especially if you have the hobs and oven on at the same time.
- They insist on checking each smoke alarm once a year even though it should be checked by anyone who is competent (insinuating I am not).
My smoke alarms work especially if we are cooking and when this happens, all three alarms go off at the same time.
Where do smoke alarms need to be located?
According to the GOV.UK Regulations it does not stipulate where the alarms should be placed.
At least one smoke alarm should be installed on every floor used as living accommodation.
Landlords should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions when installing the alarms. However, in general, smoke alarms should be fixed to the ceiling in a circulation space, i.e. a hall or a landing.
Your local fire and rescue authority may be able to provide further advice on installation or you can download fire safety information from www.gov.uk/firekills
Can Smoke Alarms & Heat Detectors Damage Hearing?
Since having these alarms installed my hearing is not so good, I experience headaches and a constant humming noise in both ears. The volume on my devices has to be turned up to the max for me to hear. I cannot hear my doorbell which tells me my hearing is damaged.
The sheer volume of noise isn’t everything and the distance you are from the source of the sound and how long you are exposed to it is just as important as the noise.
Sound intensity doubles with every increase of 3 decibels so even though the sound of a car horn may not sound twice as loud as a vacuum cleaner, the intensity levels make it seem so. That is why, if you are working in a noisy environment with sound levels in the region of 80-85dB, you should be wearing protective hearing headsets.
For sounds in the region of 110 – 120dB, short exposure is enough to cause lasting hearing damage.
Prolonged and repeated exposure to loud noises can damage your hearing and if you stand next to a smoke alarm for a long period of time, it can damage your hearing (I am about 10ft away when I am sitting down and working, and have to switch/reset all the alarms which may take a few minutes because both my daughter and I are disabled and cannot move very fast and cannot reach because the ceilings are very high.
Though the point of a smoke alarm is to get you out of the vicinity of a fire so this is rarely an issue. The louder the noise is and the longer you are exposed to it, the higher the risk to your hearing.
On the imminent appointment (which I could do without), scheduled tomorrow to have my alarms tested because I am obviously not trusted or capable enough to test them myself, I not only will have to contend with the deafening noise of 3 x 85 decibels = 255 decibels, but they will have to disconnect my electricity because the alarms are connected to the flat below me. (I would not be so p#ssed if it was one alarm but there are three that will go off simultaneously and one of the alarms is about 10 feet away from where I work. When these alarms set off they hurt my ears).
How can I protect my health and work at the same time?
I am keeping a record of everything that happens with this company and my landlord.
My alarms work fine because there is one heat detector in the kitchen which is very sensitive and sets off all the rest. I have reduced my cooking because of the price rises in the cost of living but that is another story.
The electrician arrived and knocked on my door and when he did not get an answer he opened the door and came to my stairs. (My daughter was a witness).
I normally do not lock my flat door because the flat is a terraced house converted to two apartments and there is a front door that is locked before anyone can get to my door. You would think I should feel safe in my home, but obviously, people that do not get a response from knocking think they have a license to just let themselves in…
No word of a lie he puffed an aerosol can on the alarms, waited for them to go off, and left. He did not switch off the electrics like the last guy a year ago. It most probably took the guy today all of two minutes from start to finish, I wonder how much he charged for this?
How should a tenant test their alarms to check they are in working order?
Testing of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms does not require specialist skills or knowledge and should be straightforward for tenants to do.
Landlords should consider providing residents with a demonstration and/or instructions to support residents’ understanding of how, and how often, to test their smoke alarms and make sure they are in working order. Landlords should follow the individual manufacturer’s instructions for testing alarms and consider sharing these instructions with tenants to support regular testing.
Would I recommend this company to anyone to anyone? most definitely not, they are a bunch of cowboys!
They do not know what they are doing, they are not on the first page of search engines and their website looks like an amateur has done it which tells me they are not making much money otherwise they would afford a Professional Website Designer.
This now gives me the perfect opportunity to promote and market my client who is professional and knows what he is doing. If I could dictate to my landlord who he should choose to hire then I would most definitely have recommended my client.
For those of you that are in need of a Landlord Safety Inspection, I highly recommend www.electricianswales.co.uk
I think this muppet company (E+- (abbreviated), am not disclosing their business name for legal reasons) is out to scam landlords because, from the original post date of this article in August of this year, I was surprised the same muppets turned up at my property unannounced to say they were doing a smoke alarm test. I replied you did one six months ago but in reality, it was three months ago and the electrician’s reply was that they have to very six months (good luck with that in three months’ time because I bet you a bottom dollar I am not letting them in).
I told my landlord’s assistant who said she had texted me over the weekend. If I did not reply that would have meant I did not get the text.
But what shocked me was that this electrician entered my flat without waiting to be invited. What would have happened if I was not in? he could have had free reign and helped himself to my valuables. What if I had just had a shower and was half-dressed? You do not enter rented accommodation without acknowledgment from the tenant. I did not acknowledge the text because I never received it.
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