Smoke detectors are a very useful invention of our times. Its utility has made it indispensable and you will find them in almost every residential and commercial building. Herein, we will discuss where should the smoke detectors be placed? Some general guidelines, tips, dos’, and don’ts regarding their installation and a few tips for their safe usage. We hope you will find this helpful and informative. So, without any further delay let’s start our topic.
1. The Locations for Smoke Alarms
The National Fire Protection Association provides the following guidelines for installation of smoke detectors for bedroom, kitchen, living room and hallway:
- They should be installed on every floor, sleeping area, every room, finished attics, and basements where temperatures range between 40F to 100F.
- If your house has a hall measuring more than 40 feet long then install one smoke detector at each end.
- If the hall has more than one sleeping area, install one individual smoke detector in every sleeping area.
- Every bedroom should have a smoke detector especially where people sleep with the door closed or partly closed.
- Install smoke detectors in an area where there will be no obstructions in the way of smoke reaching the detectors in case a fire breaks out.
- Smoke alarms shoukd be AC powered and interconnected.
- In the stairways, a smoke alarm should be installed at the top of the first-to-second-floor stairway and at the bottom of the basement stairway.
- You can also seek guidance from your local laws as rules vary state to state regarding the installation of smoke detectors.
2. Tips for Smoke Detector Installation
Smoke alarms should be installed at:
- Every level of the house, including the attic and the basement. If you have a large basement install one at each corner.
- In every bedroom. In every sleeping area as well as hallways.
- One at the top of the stairway and one at the bottom would effectively cover the entire stairway.
- Living rooms, halls and large rooms. This would include your T.V. room, lounge area, etc. Do not install them close to cooking appliances and stoves in the kitchen. The smoke and the steam emitting from food can trigger false alarms.
There are no fixed rules here on how many smoke detectors you should install in your house. It depends on how big is your house and how many rooms it has. The general principle one smoke alarm should be placed in close proximity of every family member so that he or she can easily hear it.
3. Smoke Detector Safety Testing Tips
- Make sure you use smoke detectors from the same manufacturer. In case you don’t, there could be a compatibility issue.
- If you have a smoke alarm with a non-replaceable battery it should last 10 years. In case it chirps, you change it right away.
- Other types of batteries may need replacement every year. Make sure you replace them at the right time.
- Use only those batteries that have been recommended by the manufacturer. Any other battery could cause a compatibility issue. Check the manual to know the brand and specification of the battery to be used.
- Check your smoke alarms at least once a month to make sure they are working properly.
- The smoke alarms should be interconnected. If anyone starts to sound, it should trigger others too. The interconnection can be made via wireless or hardwired connectivity. Statistics show that interconnected smoke detectors have a higher ratio of alerting the occupants.
- All the family members should understand the sound of smoke alarms and know how to respond to its call.
- For their regular maintenance and cleaning refer to the manufacturer’s manual. Follow the instructions given in the manual or on the packing box. You can also search the internet for cleaning tips.