Recommended locations for Smoke Alarms Where

Recommended locations for Smoke Alarms Where
Recommended locations for Smoke Alarms
Where to Place Smoke Alarms
Installing Smoke Alarms in Single-Family Residences
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), recommends one Smoke Alarm on
every floor, in every sleeping area, and in every bedroom. In new construction, the Smoke
Alarms must be AC powered and interconnected. See “Agency Placement
Recommendations” for details. For additional coverage, it is recommended that you install
a Smoke Alarm in all rooms, halls, storage areas, finished attics, and basements, where
temperatures normally remain between 40° F (4° C) and 100° F (38° C). Make sure no
door or other obstruction could keep smoke from reaching the Smoke Alarms.
More specifically, install Smoke Alarms:
On every level of your home, including finished attics and basements.
Inside every bedroom, especially if people sleep with the door partly or completely
In the hall near every sleeping area. If your home has multiple sleeping areas, install
a unit in each. If a hall is more than 40 feet long (12 meters), install a unit at each
At the top of the first-to-second floor stairway, and at the bottom of the basement
IMPORTANT! Specific requirements for Smoke Alarm installation vary from state to
state and from region to region. Check with your local Fire Department for current
requirements in your area.
It is recommended AC or AC/DC units be interconnected for added protection.
For minimum security install one Smoke Alarm as close to each sleeping area as possible.
For more security, put one unit in each room. Many older mobile homes (especially those
built before 1978) have little or no insulation. If your mobile home is not well insulated, or
if you are unsure of the amount of insulation, it is important to install units on inside walls
only. Smoke Alarms should be installed where temperatures normally remain between 40°
F (4° C) and 100° F (38° C).
NFPA 72 (National Fire Code) Chapter 11 “For your information, the National Fire
Protection Association's Standard 72 reads as follows:
11.5.1 One- and Two-Family Dwelling Units. Smoke Detection. Where required by applicable laws, codes, or standards for the
specified occupancy, approved single- and multiple-station Smoke Alarms shall be
installed as follows: (1) In all sleeping rooms. Exception: Smoke Alarms shall not be
required in sleeping rooms in existing one- and two-family dwelling units. (2) Outside of
each separate sleeping area, in immediate vicinity of the sleeping rooms. (3) On each level
of the dwelling unit, including basements. Exception: In existing one- and two family
dwelling units, approved Smoke Alarms powered by batteries are permitted.
A.11.8.3 Are More Smoke Alarms Desirable? The required number of Smoke Alarms
might not provide reliable early warning protection for those areas separated by a door
from the areas protected by the required Smoke Alarms. For this reason, it is
recommended that the householder consider the use of additional Smoke Alarms for those
areas for increased protection. The additional areas include the basement, bedrooms,
dining room, furnace room, utility room, and hallways not protected by the required
Smoke Alarms. The installation of Smoke Alarms in kitchens, unfinished attics, or garages
is not normally recommended, as these locations occasionally experience conditions that
can result in improper operation.”
Smoke Detector placement and installation
The placement of smoke detectors is very important. Sleeping areas need the most
protection. One detector in a short hallway outside the bedroom area is usually adequate.
Hallways longer than 30 feet should have one detector every 30 feet. A smoke detector
should be installed in every room that will be occupied.
Be sure to keep the detector away from fireplaces and wood stoves to avoid false alarms.
Place smoke detectors at the top of each stairwell and at the end of each long hallway.
Smoke rises easily through stairwells. If you should put a smoke detector in your kitchen,
be sure to keep it away from cooking fumes or smoking areas.
Proper mounting of a smoke detector also is important. You can mount many detectors
by yourself, but those connected to your household wiring should have their own separate
circuit and be installed by a professional electrician. If you mount your detector on the
ceiling, be sure to keep it at least 18 inches away from dead air space near corners. If you
mount it on the wall, place it four to 12 inches below the ceiling and away from corners.
Keep them high because smoke rises.
Never place them any closer than three feet from an air register that might re-circulate
smoke. Don't place them near doorways or windows where drafts could impair the
detector operation. Don't place them on an uninsulated exterior wall or ceiling.
Temperature extremes can affect the batteries.
· Do not place a detector closer than 3 feet from an air register that might re-circulate
· Make sure smoke detectors are at least 18 inches from a corner.
· Do not place a unit on an uninsulated exterior wall or ceiling.
· Place smoke detectors at least 3 feet from ceiling fans.
There are two basic types of smoke detectors:
1. Ionization detectors - Ionization detectors contain radioactive material that ionizes
the air, making an electrical path. When smoke enters, the smoke molecules attach
themselves to the ions. The change in electric current flow triggers the alarm. The
radioactive material is called americium. It's a radioactive metallic element
produced by bombardment of plutonium with high-energy neutrons. The amount is
very small and not harmful.
2. Photoelectric detectors - This type of detectors contain a light source (usually a
bulb) and a photocell, which is activated by light. Light from the bulb reflects off
the smoke particles and is directed towards the photocell. The photocell then is
activated to trigger the alarm.
Keeping smoke detectors in good condition is easy. Always follow the manufacturer's
instructions. Be sure to replace the batteries every year or as needed. Most models will
make a chirping, popping or beeping sound when the battery is losing its charge. When
this sound is heard, install a fresh battery, preferably an alkaline type.
Place smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers in strategic spots
around your home
Read Your Manual
First things first: Read your manual. All smoke alarms and, carbon monoxide detectors
work differently, and you really, really need to understand how your model works. Make
sure you buy fresh batteries (check the expiration) for your smoke alarms. Once they’re
installed, hit the tester button. Depending on the alarm, you’ll hear shot beeps, long beeps,
or a prolonged beep to let you know that they’re working.
Smoke alarms save lives, but only if they’re working properly. Test monthly!
Test Your Smoke Detectors
Your alarms are pretty self-sufficient, but you should do regular testing and seasonal
battery refreshes. I like to test my smoke alarms about once a month, typically in
conjunction with another sporadic chore, like window washing. You should also swap out
old batteries for new at least once a year. At our house, we do it twice a year, whenever
we’re turning our clocks back/forward for Daylight Saving’s. Partnering our smoke alarm
duties with other uncommon tasks helps jog our memory, so we can stay safe.
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