Smoke Alarm Installation Cost

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Written By Tristan Cameron

It’s compulsory for every residential building in Australia to have a smoke alarm installed, with at least one on every storey.

The rules change for each state. Do you know yours? 

Does your residential property, whether you live there or rent it out, meet the minimum requirements for a smoke alarm? If not, you could be breaking the law, so you need to install them today.

Don’t let the perceived cost deter you. It may not be as expensive as you think. Some alarms can be as cheap as $10, and labour costs remain competitive. 

The average cost for a mid-range smoke detector and its installation is $250.

Let’s look at the different types of smoke alarms and how much they cost.

First up, though, what are the requirements of your state?

Legislation By State

Similarly to many things in Australia, regulations are governed on a state level and not federally. This applies to smoke alarms too. Here’s the current status per state:

New South Wales

In NSW, they’re mandatory. For houses, every level must have at least one. For apartment buildings, there needs to be a smoke alarm in every apartment. 


QLD has some of the most specific regulations regarding smoke alarms. They must be photoelectric, either connected to the mains or operated by lithium batteries. If there are multiple alarms, they must all be interconnected so they all go off at once.

Australian Capital Territory

Any ACT properties built or renovated since 1997 need a mains-connected smoke alarm, and photoelectric ones are recommended.


All Tasmanian properties built or renovated since 1997 must contain at least one alarm, and it needs to be mains connected or powered by lithium batteries.

Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory

The final three states and one territory all share the same rule. The current requirement is that you must have at least one smoke alarm installed in every house.

In all cases, alarms must be replaced every ten years. 

Legislation can change at any time, so be sure to check with Smoke Alarms Australia to ensure your property meets the minimum standards.

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Smoke Alarms

We categorise smoke alarms by their type and how they’re powered. As you can see above, some states dictate what ones to install.

First, the four types:


These alarms use minimal radiation (not enough to create health issues) to generate an electrical current that travels through ionised air. 

They rely on the particles emitted by fire to trigger the alarm. They work well on detecting fires that break out quickly but don’t respond well to highly smokey ones. An ionisation alarm can take up to 20 minutes to set off an alarm.


These types of alarms rely on light and a photocell. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the light beam and sets off the alarm. In most cases, a photoelectric alarm can alert you within 3–5 minutes of a fire breaking out.

The drawback of photoelectric alarms is that dust, insects, and even steam from hot water might set them off.

Dual Sensor

These are the best of both worlds implementing both ionisation and photoelectric technology. However, they’re incredibly sensitive and often provide false alarms.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

These are a must for any properties that rely on gas heating. Leaking gas can kill. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of gas heating. If a ducted or unflued heater develops an issue, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up. 

A carbon monoxide alarm will sound before it reaches that level.

Next, there are different ways to power them:

Battery Operated Alarms

These are the cheaper alternatives. If you use regular batteries, you must change them at least once a year. Better models have a battery alert feature that will beep when the power supply gets low.

Lithium batteries are a smarter alternative as they can last up to ten years.

Mains Powered Alarms

While more expensive to install, they negate the need to replace batteries and are more reliable. These are becoming more popular, and some states even require them as mandatory.

How Much Do Smoke Alarms Cost?

Smoke alarms are a lot more affordable than many people think. Here’s an average of what each type costs:

Ionisation alarm – $10–$50

Photoelectric alarm – $18–$100

Dual sensor alarm – $40–$60

Carbon monoxide alarm – $20–$100

Then there’s the labour costs. We’ve already detailed how much you can expect to pay per hour, per state. Depending on how large your property is and how many alarms we’re installing, the task may take a few hours.

It’s really impossible to suggest how much the project will cost without looking at your situation but to give you an average; it’s around $250.

How to Determine Which Smoke Alarm is For You

Choosing the correct smoke alarm may take a lot of work. Based on your dwelling type, different alarms may be required in different rooms.

For example, heat sensitive rather than particle-sensitive alarms work best in a kitchen. Yet the latter may work best in other rooms.

If people living in the property are hard of hearing, you may need an alarm that produces a strobe light to warn them of danger.

Why Choose North Shore Electricians?

As you’ve seen, there are many factors to consider when choosing the correct smoke alarm for your property. That’s where we come in.

Sure, there are some smoke detectors that you can install yourself, but wouldn’t you prefer the peace of mind that comes from a professional installation?

We’ve been installing smoke alarms across Sydney for over 20 years and keep up to date with new technology. We’re also up-to-date on all the regulations in NSW.

If you don’t have any installed, or the current ones are over ten years old, or you’re not sure if you meet the current rules, it’s time to contact us. 

We’ll send a qualified inspector out to your property, and they’ll advise you on what alarm(s) you’ll need and provide you with a complete estimate.

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