Smoke alarms are some of the most critical security and safety systems in your home. They are your best chance at getting alerted that there is a fire in your house with enough time to evacuate safely. While having smoke detectors is one piece of the puzzle, smoke detector placement is also essential to keep your family safe.

What are the Rules About Smoke Detector Placement?

All states have laws that govern the minimum number of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors that need to be in houses, whether they are single-family properties or apartment buildings. Beyond that minimum number of alarms, many families choose to invest in additional smoke detectors in line with recommendations given by national fire safety experts.

Most house fire fatalities occur because alarms are not working, or people sleep through the alarms going off due to poor placement. These federal and local laws are all designed to maximize your safety and give you as much time as possible to get out before you get hurt.

Where Should You Install Smoke Alarms?

When considering smoke detector placement in your home, start by ensuring that you have high-quality smoke alarms manufactured by a reputable company. Some people choose to invest in smoke detectors that detect carbon monoxide to give themselves even more protection.

Our tips for in-home smoke detector placement include:

  • Installing one smoke detector in every bedroom and outside of every sleeping area, including spaces like the living room or basement if you occasionally sleep there
  • Adding at least one smoke alarm on each level of the home, including your basement and attic
  • Installing smoke alarms so that they are no more than 12 inches from the ceiling
  • Don’t install units within 10 feet of the bathroom and oven to prevent false alarms from showering or cooking 
  • Adding smoke detectors in the living room, dining room, and any stairwells to upper or lower levels

What are the Mistakes Homeowners Make When Installing Alarms?

Many small mistakes will impact the alarm’s performance when there’s improper smoke detector placement. Never paint over some or all of the smoke detector. Decorations, stickers, or paint on the device can keep it from sensing smoke and fire adequately. Another common issue is not properly installing interconnected smoke alarms. If they are not the same model from the same manufacturer, you might have problems getting them to work together.

Imperial Inspection Services offers inspections to home buyers and sellers in Central Iowa. Contact us to schedule an appointment.