If you had to choose the most critical safety device in your house that protects you around the clock, what would it be? Many homeowners think about their state-of-the-art security alarm system or perhaps the doorbell camera. In reality, one of the most essential devices that protects you all day, every day, is the smoke detector. Proper smoke detector placement is the key to getting the most out of your smoke alarms.
Are There Laws Governing Smoke Detector Placement?
Every state and many counties and cities have legislation that states how many smoke detectors must be present in various properties, including commercial buildings, single-family houses, and multi-family properties like apartments. When your home is inspected before moving in, your home inspector will check that the minimum requirements are satisfied. However, there is no reason to stop at the minimum when installing smoke alarms.
How Should You Install Smoke Alarms?
When considering smoke detector placement, make sure that they are installed within 12 inches of the ceiling to detect smoke as it rises. Never place stickers on your alarm or paint over it. Either of these things can stop the smoke alarm from working correctly.
Where Should You Install Smoke Alarms in Your House?
As you are planning smoke detector placement:
- Install one in all hallways that connect to one or more bedrooms
- Add an alarm in all sleeping areas, including living rooms and bedrooms
- Install a smoke detector in the basement near the steps
- Place an alarm in the stairwell to the upper level of the home
Never place a smoke detector too close to the kitchen or bathroom, as steam from the shower or smoke from cooking can lead to false alarms. If you have photoelectric sensors, they should be at least six feet from all stoves or showers. Ionization detectors are much more common, and they can be placed slightly closer to cooking devices and showers without major issues.
How Should You Install a Smoke Detector?
Start by reading through the instructions for your specific type and brand of smoke detector. Most smoke alarms are easy to install, but differences can occur in installing the battery or mounting it. Pick a place on the wall free from drafts and within a foot of the ceiling. First, mount the bracket. Then, place the battery inside, mount the alarm, and test it.