Smoke detectors are essential to alert your family in case of fire. An early warning gives you time to escape the home and hopefully avoid injury. You may already have alarms installed, however, there is an important factor that may be overlooked: smoke detector placement. To make sure your family hears the alert, follow these tips on where to install your alarms.
Why is Smoke Detector Placement Important?
For safety, there should be multiple smoke detectors throughout your home. Fire research has shown that modern furnishings and building materials burn quickly, leading to fast-spreading fires in houses. Proper placement of smoke detectors is important to make sure everyone in the home is warned in case a fire breaks out.
Smoke Detector Placement to Maximize Safety
The National Fire Protection Association has an alarm code (NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code) requiring that homes have a smoke detector on every level and inside and outside of each bedroom or sleeping area. Fire detection needs have changed over time, and it’s important to have smoke alarms throughout your home, not just near bedrooms.
Follow these tips for smoke detector placement. When shopping for devices, make sure to purchase reliable brands of smoke alarms.
- Place smoke detectors inside each bedroom and in the hallway outside of sleeping areas.
- Install a device in the living room, dining area, laundry room, and kitchen.
- All staircases should have detectors on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairwell.
- Keep smoke alarms at least 10 feet away from cooking appliances to avoid false alarms.
- Place smoke detectors on the ceiling of a room or high on the wall, no more than 12 inches from the ceiling.
- Don’t install detectors in drafty areas near HVAC vents, doors, or windows.
Tips for Installing Smoke Detectors
When installing and maintaining smoke detectors in your home, here are a few essential tips. The batteries in these devices should be replaced twice each year and the entire detector should be replaced after 10 years.
- Don’t paint over smoke detectors.
- Interconnect the smoke alarms in your home so that when one sounds, they all will.
- Use a combination of ionization (responsive to flames) and photoelectric (responsive to smoldering fires) smoke detectors.
- Always keep the manufacturer’s pamphlet with instructions and safety standards for reference.
- Test the devices once per month as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions.
Smoke Detector Placement in the Home
Follow these tips for safe smoke detector placement and maintain them with monthly tests to help protect your family and home from fire. Smoke detectors are inexpensive and an essential part of a home safety plan. If you need help selecting and installing smoke alarms, hire a professional contractor who will make sure the job is done correctly.