Position Smoke Detectors in Your Home
The proper positioning of smoke alarms may be dictated by your local building code, but there are also standard recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association. These recommendations are the basis for many local code requirements:
- Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.
- Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
- Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
- Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Wall-mounted alarms should be installed not more than 12 inches away from the ceiling (to the top of the alarm).
- If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak (four inches down from the peak).
- Don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
- Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.
- For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound. Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology.
- When interconnected smoke alarms are installed, it is important that all of the alarms are from the same manufacturer. If the alarms are not compatible, they may not sound.
Many experts point out that smoke alarms should not be placed on the ceiling, but instead high up on the walls. The logic for this is that some types of fire will fill the ceiling areas with chemical gases that push the smoke downward slightly. By positioning the detectors at roughly 12 inches below the ceiling, you can ensure that it will detect smoke at the earliest opportunity.
It is important that every floor of your home have at least one smoke detector. Garages are a very common source of fires, so make sure yours is equipped with a smoke detector. And don’t forget basements, sunrooms, and swimming pool and spa areas of the home. Include furnace rooms, laundry rooms, and other utility spaces in your alarm plan.
Hardwired, interconnected smoke detectors are the best option and are now required in new construction. Even where building codes allow older homes to rely on battery-operated detectors, it is a good idea to have a hardwired system installed. If you must rely on battery-operated detectors, make sure to replace the batteries twice a year. The habit of changing the batteries at each change from daylight saving time to standard time is good practice to get into.
Info Source: The Spruce