Smoke detectors in the home keep your family safe around the clock, whether you are in the kitchen, office, or asleep at night. If a fire breaks out, the detectors will sound an early warning to alert residents to exit the house. To keep your family safe, properly install and maintain your smoke detecting devices.

Types of Smoke Detectors for Your Home

There are three common types of smoke detectors available for in-home use. Ionization alarms work best for fires that spread quickly and have large flames. Photoelectric smoke detectors detect smoky and smoldering fires. Combination smoke alarms use technology from both ionization alarms and photoelectric alarms to create a single, highly effective smoke detecting device.

Guidelines for Placement of Smoke Detectors in the Home

Proper smoke detector placement is essential to make sure they quickly alert you of a fire. Whether you just moved into a new home or are trying to better maintain the house you currently live in, learn about local laws. Every municipality has regulations that govern the minimum amount of smoke detectors on a property. Many homeowners choose to install more than the minimum number to protect their homes better.

  • Install smoke detectors in the kitchen 10-12 feet away from cooking appliances to avoid false alarms.
  • Place one smoke detector in every bedroom and sleeping area and the hallway immediately outside each sleeping area.
  • Each floor of the house should have a detector, including the basement, attic, and garage.
  • Do not place stickers on a smoke alarm or paint over them.
  • Install a device in or near the laundry room to alert you in case of a dryer fire.
  • Smoke detectors operate most effectively when installed on the ceiling. If this is not possible, place the device high on the wall, between 4 and 12 inches from the ceiling.
  • Don’t install the alarm near a ceiling fan, HVAC vent, or window. Airflow can interfere with its ability to detect smoke quickly.

Maintain the Devices

Once you have installed smoke detectors in the proper locations, continue maintaining the alarms. Test each alarm once a month using the button on the device. This will confirm they are working correctly. At least once every year, change the batteries in the smoke detectors. The devices themselves should be replaced after ten years of service.

Homesmith Home Inspections provides inspection services to homebuyers and sellers in the Houston, Texas, area. Contact us to request an appointment.