Smoke detectors could save your life in the event of a fire in your home. It’s crucial to have enough smoke detector units in your home and to make sure they are in working order. Having an adequate amount of fire alarms in your house means being alerted quickly and maximizing the time to evacuate in the event of a fire.

How Many Smoke Detectors Should I Have?

The recommended number of smoke alarms depends on the size of your home. For example, a one bedroom apartment will have less than a 5 bedroom, two story home. Regardless of size, you can never have too many as long as they are installed correctly. A good rule of thumb is placing enough throughout your home, so you are never in an area where you can’t hear the alarm.

Where Should I Install Smoke Detectors?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, including the basement, and should be installed inside of every bedroom and outside of each sleeping area. Smoke detectors should also be placed in areas where fires can originate like laundry rooms or near kitchens. In addition to smoke detectors, it’s important to install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.

Smoke Detector Placement Do’s and Don’ts

So you’ve purchased the right amount of smoke detectors to place in your home, but where do you put them? Placement is very important when it comes to ensuring that the unit functions properly.

Do—Install smoke detectors on ceilings or high on a wall that is 12 inches from the ceiling.

Don’t—Install smoke detectors in humid areas, near the floor, directly next to kitchen appliances, or in unfinished attics, garages, and porches.

What Types of Smoke Detectors are Available?

Before you buy any smoke alarm, make sure it is qualified by a reputable testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL). There are many types of smoke alarms to choose from including battery operated, hardwire types, interconnected, combination CO, and more. When it comes to detection technology, you can choose from two main types: Ionization and photoelectric. Ionization type alarms have a mechanism that contains electrodes that are disrupted when smoke is present. These types are more responsive to flaming fires. Photoelectric type smoke alarms detect smoke using an LED beam sensor and are more generally more responsive to smoldering fires. We recommend using both throughout your home for comprehensive protection.

Smoke Detector Maintenance

What good is a smoke detector if it doesn’t work when you need it? Here are some tips for smoke alarm maintenance so you’re not caught in a potentially dangerous situation.

  • Keep the smoke detector clean. Dust the unit regularly and vacuum it once a year. Do not paint over the smoke detector!
  • Test your smoke detector every month. Most have a test button on the front that will let you know it’s working properly. Refer to the user manual that came with the unit.
  • Replace the batteries 1-2 times a year. A best practice is to change out the batteries during daylight savings time when you change your clocks.
  • Replace the unit after 10 years. Most smoke alarms have an expiration date and you should make note of that by writing down the installation date on the side of the unit.

Contact the Experts at One Hour Heating and Air for Additional Support

We hope this smoke detector guide has been helpful in explaining the importance of the amount of fire alarms you should have in your home, the proper placement, and maintenance of the unit. If you have any questions, call the professionals and One Hour Heating and Air.