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Guide on placement of smoke detectors for smokers

Guide on placement of smoke detectors for smokers

In most of the world, smoke detectors are legal requirement in residential settings -- and they may significantly improve fire safety. The question is, where is the best place to install smoke detectors to keep your property and loved ones safe in case of emergency?

How does a smoke detector work?

Before we begin to explain where to place fire alarms, it's important to understand how smoke detectors work to reduce the risk of tumultuous fire damage and injuries. Three types of smoke alarms are used: photoelectric, ionization, and dual smoke detectors.

A photoelectric detector measures light as it hits the sensor. These types of detectors are the most effective at detecting smoky fires. An ionization detector detects when smoke enters the icing chamber and the neutralized ions removed. The alarm will be activated when the electrical current drops. Fire ignitors are more sensitive to ionization detectors than conventional fire detector systems. A dual-sensor smoke alarm is a combination of both.

Where should smoke detectors be installed?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the best place for smoke detectors is inside and outside of the bedrooms and on every level of your home, including the basement. Depending on the size of your home, you may need several smoke detectors. Dual-sensor smoke alarms throughout your home will most effectively detect both types of early fires.

Smoke rises, so mounting smoke detectors high -- usually on ceilings -- is the best option. If you want to install a smoke alarm on tiling, placing it less than 12 inches from the ceiling would be the best approach. Find a safe spot away from air ducts, windows, or any areas with stale air that might prevent smoke from reaching the detector. Interconnecting all smoke alarms will provide you with greater protection, too -- if one detector sounds, they will.

People generally avoid putting a smoke detector in the kitchen for fear of it going off during cooking. Because fires often start in a kitchen even if you aren't present when they occur, requiring smoky devices is necessary in any kitchen. To reduce false alarms, detectors should be mounted at least 10 feet from the stove or oven. In a small kitchen, this may be difficult. Your only option is to install the smoke detector 10 feet or more from the stove, but it may be best to do so immediately outside of the kitchen.

Smoke detectors should be installed inside the bedroom and just outside the bedrooms, such as in a hallway. If you don't have enough smoke detectors to install them everywhere, install one outside the bedrooms in a location where everyone sleeping can hear the alarm. Interconnections between wireless or wired smoke detectors may help address the audibility problem, as mentioned above. If the smoke detector in the basement of a two-story home goes off in late night, interlinked smoke alarms will sound throughout the house, quickly alerting everyone who is sleeping upstairs.

In the basement, you'll also need a smoke detector. Interlinking is ideal to warn you if there's smoke in the basement. If the fire continues to spread to other areas, you may not hear the alarm.

How to install a smoke alarm How do you install one?

Smoke detectors that run on batteries are among the simplest home security solutions to install. They are typically assembled right out of the box -- all you have to do is mount it. You can follow the manufacturer's instructions for how to install your smoke detector, but generally, the steps are the same.

  1. Unpack the detector and read the documentation.

  2. Install the battery or remove the protective tab from the batteries to activate the alarm.

  3. Choose a draft-free spot on the ceiling or on t h wall 12 inches from the floor.

  4. Attach the mounting bracket to the bracket.

  5. Connect the smoke detector to the device.

  6. Test the smoke detector by pressing the "Test" button. It should make a loud noise that is easily discernible in the general vicinity.

Wired smoke alarms may require an electrician who is able to make connections and interconnect them.

Maintenance of smoke detectors

Smoke detectors don't need much maintenance other than to check the battery or electrical connection periodically. Make it a habit to test your detectors once per month by pressing the test button to ensure the smoke alarm sounds. If you hear chirping, the detector's battery is probably low and should be replaced. Even if your alarm doesn't chirp, replace the batteries on all your smoke detectors once a year.

Do smoke detectors need to be replaced?

If you properly maintain your smoke detector by replacing the battery every year, you won't need to replace the entire device. Occasionally, smoke alarms have a nonreplaceable battery installed. They typically last for a decade or so. If the alarm on this model chirps, the battery is low and it's time to replace the smoke detector.

What to do if your smoke detector goes off?

Understanding fire safety can make the difference between life and death. It's important that everyone in the family understands what the sound of the smoke alarm means and what to do. Even after several false alarms, a fire alarm should always be taken seriously. Even tiniest children can be taught what to do if a fire alarm goes off.

A home safety plan can be vital so that everyone at home knows what to do in case of an emergency. It is also essential to have an exit plan in case of fire, including where everyone should meet outside of the home.

Smoke detector false alerts occur. If you hear a smoke alarm, check for the source of the smoke before calling 911. A small grease fire in a pan, for example, can be easily put out. However, if there's heavy smoke or a fire you can't control, evacuate the house immediately and call 911.

For more information on home and fire safety, go to:

  • How to stop smoke detectors that keep going off?
  • 9 items you should buy to make your home safer instantly.
  • The whys and hows of monitoring air quality in the home are discussed.
  • Smart smoke detectors for a safer smart home.

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