Smoke detectors are an essential part of any home. If you’re installing smoke alarms in your house, then this article will tell you where to place them and what to avoid.
Where are the best places to install smoke detectors in a home? You should install smoke detectors in every bedroom, one in the hallway outside of every bedroom, and at least one on every level of the house, including the basement.
Install one smoke detector inside every bedroom
The bedroom is one of the most important places in your house to install a smoke detector. This is because if there’s ever an emergency, you want to wake up someone sleeping inside that room before they succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning or smoke inhalation.
Install one smoke detector outside every bedroom
Smoke detectors should be placed outside of each bedroom at least ten feet away from the door. This ensures that you will hear the alarm if there is a fire while sleeping at night.
For example: if you have a three-bedroom home, you can install one smoke detector centrally located in the hallway as long as it is at least ten feet from each bedroom door.
Install at least one smoke detector on each floor of the house.
Smoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home, including the basement. This will help ensure that you are alerted to a fire no matter where it starts in your house.
Smoke detectors can only sense a fire when smoke enters the sensor. A fire that starts on one floor could go undetected before spreading to the next level of your home.
Having one smoke detector on each floor is the minimum national code requirement. We always recommend installing multiple smoke detectors on each floor, depending on the layout of your home.
Where should you install smoke detectors in a room with a ceiling fan?
You should not install smoke detectors directly above or within three feet of a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans create airflow, which can cause smoke to blow away from the sensor, delaying its ability to sound an alarm.
Should I install a smoke detector in a furnace or boiler room?
The furnace room is one of the most common areas for fires to start in the home. For this reason, it is a good idea to install a smoke detector in this room.
However, a furnace or boiler room can also be one of the dustiest rooms in your house because heating appliances create a lot of dust and soot.
We recommend keeping the fire alarm at least ten feet for any heating appliance and cleaning the smoke sensor at least once a year by blowing compressed air through the smoke chamber.
You can buy cans of compressed air from any office supply store or order them from Amazon.
Can smoke detectors be installed on a wall?
You can install smoke detectors on the wall as long as the top of the smoke detector is at least 12 inches from the ceiling.
Smoke rises, so you have to place the smoke alarm high enough to detect the smoke as early as possible.
How many types of smoke detectors are there?
Now that we’ve covered where you should install smoke alarms let’s discuss the different types of smoke detectors. There are three main types of smoke detectors: ionization, photoelectric, and combination utilizing both technologies.
Ionization and photoelectric sensors detect fires in different ways.
The ionization type uses an electrically charged plate with a radioactive material (not enough to be dangerous) that generates ions that flow between the plates to create an electrical current when no smoke is present.
When smoke enters an ionized smoke detector, the opposite happens—the ions are neutralized and cause an imbalance in the current. This triggers an alarm to sound to alert the occupants.
Photoelectric detectors use a light source and a photocell to detect smoke. When smoke enters the sensor, it blocks the light beam and breaks the circuit, triggering the alarm.
What is the best type of smoke detector to install in your home?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends using both types of detectors in your home.
- Ionization detectors are good at detecting fast-burning fires like paper, wood, and plastics.
- Photoelectric detectors are good at detecting smoldering fires like cigarettes, bedding, and fabrics.
You can also get a combination smoke detector that uses both technologies for the ultimate protection against fire in your home.
Ionization smoke detectors are more common and less expensive than photoelectric smoke detectors. Still, both types of smoke detectors are effective in detecting fires.
Where should you avoid installing smoke detectors?
It’s important to know where not to install smoke detectors, as well as where they work best. Here are some places where it is recommended not to place smoke detectors in your house.
- In the kitchen. The kitchen is one of the most common areas where fires start, so it makes sense to have a smoke detector here.
However, you don’t want your alarm going off every time someone burns toast or overcooks dinner!
Keep the smoke detector at least ten feet away from any appliances to prevent false alarms.
If there is no other option but to install a detector in this room, make sure to disable the alarm when cooking.
- In a bathroom. The humidity in a bathroom can cause the detector to sound false alarms, or fail and not work properly.
- Outside of a bathroom. This is because the steam from showers can cause false alarms. Try to install the smoke detector in the hallway at least five to ten feet away from the bathroom if possible.
- Near HVAC vents. Keep smoke detectors at least three feet away from any air vents.
Air blowing from the air vents can interfere with smoke from entering the smoke detector, preventing it from detecting smoke in the event of a fire.
These vents can also blow dust into the detector, causing constant false alarms.
- In attics. Attics are very dusty, causing constant false alarms. Also, the temperature in an attic can be too hot or too cold for a smoke detector to function properly.
- Near a window. Smoke detectors should not be placed near windows because the draft from the window can interfere with the detector’s ability to detect smoke.
- Near a fireplace. Placing a smoke detector too close to a fireplace can cause false alarms.
- Near a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans can cause drafts that will interfere with the detector’s ability to detect smoke as well as blow dust inside of the smoke sensor.
- In garages or workshops. These areas have a high risk for fires due to flammable materials and power tools, but they also have a lot of dust. Installing smoke detectors in an area with a lot of dust can cause them to go off constantly.
Who installs smoke detectors?
Smoke alarms are installed by electricians, handymen, alarm companies, and sometimes the fire department will install smoke detectors for the elderly.
- 110 Volt hard-wired smoke detectors must be installed by a licensed electrician.
- Low voltage sensors are provided by alarm companies.
- Battery-operated alarms can easily be installed by the homeowner.
- Smart sensors are also easy to install like battery-operated smoke alarms and are often installed by homeowners. All you need is a screwdriver.
How much does it cost to install smoke detectors?
Battery-operated smoke detectors are the most economical way for installing a fire alarm because the homeowner or a handyman can most often install them.
The battery-operated smoke detectors range from $25 to $125 for a smart alarm.
The cost for installation would be $50 to $150 to install one to several alarms throughout your home by a handyman.
Hard-wired smoke detectors are the most expensive type of smoke alarms to install because you have to hire an electrician for the installation. The average cost for one hard-wired smoke detector is between $150 to $250.
Low voltage smoke detectors are installed by alarm companies. Depending on your security company, they can range between $150 to $250.
There is usually an extra $5 cost to monitor the sensors, but it is well worth it because the monitoring center will dispatch the fire department upon an alarm.
Now that you know where to install your smoke detectors make sure you test them regularly!
You should test your smoke detectors at least once a month to ensure they are working properly.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when deciding where to install smoke detectors in your home.
By following the tips in this article, you can be sure that your family is safe from smoke inhalation in the event of a fire.