Smoke detectors are essential safety devices. Most homeowners know it’s vital to have smoke alarms in their living spaces but may not know where to install them. Here are a few tips for properly placing smoke detectors in the home.

When it comes to keeping your family safe, there are few things more critical than having working smoke alarms. The devices must be installed correctly and maintained in order to alert you to smoke or fire.

How Many Detectors Do I Need?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends having at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement. If you have a large house, you may need more than one alarm per floor.

Install detectors in every bedroom and hallway just outside of sleeping areas. Because fires often break out in the kitchen, plan for one device in any room with cooking appliances. Be sure to also install an alarm in the laundry area.

Where to Install Smoke Detectors in the Home

When installing smoke detectors, place them directly on the ceiling or an area high on the wall 4 – 12″ from the ceiling. Do not install smoke detectors near fans, windows, or HVAC vents, as the airflow can interfere with the device’s ability to sense smoke.

Installing Smoke Detectors in the Kitchen.

The kitchen smoke detector is the one most likely to be disabled. No one wants to hear the alarm sound when preparing dinner. Install your kitchen alarm 10 – 12 feet from any cooking appliance to avoid false alarms. This distance helps to reduce the likelihood that your detector will go off while you’re cooking.

Test and Maintain the Devices

Once you’ve installed your smoke detectors, test them regularly to ensure they’re working correctly. The NFPA recommends testing each device monthly by pressing the unit’s test button. Vacuum or dust the alarms regularly to keep them clean and free of debris so they will work as intended if there’s ever a fire in your home. When remodeling, never paint over the devices, and don’t apply stickers or wallpaper to your alarms.

Smoke detectors have an average life expectancy of around ten years. After that time, replace the entire device with a new model.

Following these simple tips will help keep your family and home safe in case of a fire. Smoke alarms are only effective if they’re working correctly. Make sure to test them often and keep them clean so they can do their job in an emergency.

Robertson Home Inspection provides inspection services to home buyers and sellers in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina. Contact us to request an appointment.