Every year, there are approximately 364,000 house fires in the United States. A house fire is reported every 89 seconds, a home fire death occurs every 3.5 hours, and a home fire injury occurs every 46 minutes. To protect your family and your belongings from fire, make sure your home has working smoke detectors. However, installing the devices isn’t enough; follow these tips for smoke detector placement in your home.
Every Floor and Sleeping Area
Install smoke detectors in every bedroom, sleeping area, and on each floor of a home, including the basement. On the floors that do not contain bedrooms, place the smoke detector in a living area, near a stairway, or in both areas.
Smoke Detector Placement: Near Appliances
Place smoke detectors near appliances that may catch fire, including kitchen appliances and the clothes dryer. The smoke detector is best installed 10-12 feet away from cooking appliances to reduce the chance of accidentally setting the device off while making dinner.
Wall and Ceiling Placement of Smoke Detectors
Because smoke rises, place the devices on the ceiling for best results. If the ceiling isn’t an option, install the detectors high on a wall. Smoke detectors on the wall function best if placed between 4 and 12 inches from the ceiling. Install the device no more than 3 feet from the peak if you have a pitched ceiling.
Dos and Don’ts
There are a few things to keep in mind when installing smoke detectors. Never install a device near a window, door, or air duct, because these things could interfere with the sensor. Don’t paint, decorate, cover, or apply stickers to your smoke detectors. These modifications could prevent the device from working as intended.
It is best practice to install an interconnected smoke detector system. Such a system works by sounding all the smoke detectors when one goes off, allowing everyone in the home to know there is a fire. All smoke detectors should be from the same manufacturer when an interconnected system is installed so the devices will communicate correctly.
Test the Smoke Detectors
To verify your smoke detectors are working correctly, test them once a month by pressing the button on the device. Failure to test the alarms could mean you won’t receive a warning if a fire occurs in the home. Replace the batteries in your detectors twice each year.