Many people are injured or killed by smoke inhalation or fires at home. Smoke detectors are a critical early warning feature that all homes need to have. Proper smoke detector placement at home will help keep your family safe from the risk of a house fire.
Why Smoke Detector Placement at Home Matters
Ideal smoke detector placement takes into consideration the nature of smoke as well as activities in the home. Smoke rises upward and it may be blocked by features like doors and other obstacles. Because of this, you need numerous well-placed detectors throughout your home.
1. Inside and Outside Bedrooms
When it comes to safe smoke detector placement at home, remember that your bedrooms are areas where you and your loved ones are most vulnerable. This is because you may be sleeping, watching the TV loudly behind a closed door, or otherwise oblivious to what is going on outside of the room.
It’s best to install smoke detectors inside and outside of all bedrooms or sleeping areas in your home.
2. On Each Floor of the Home
Even if you have a floor or two of the home that has no bedrooms, these floors still need to have at least one smoke detector located in a strategic location. For example, your basement may not have a bedroom or any other features that may be high-risk features. However, if an electrical fire or another fire breaks out in this area, you want an alarm to sound right away.
3. Near Cooking Appliances
Cooking fires are common in homes. Some of these fires may break out while you are standing in the kitchen, but others may break out because you forgot that a burner or the oven was on. A smoke detector should be placed approximately 10 feet from cooking appliances.
4. Higher on Walls or Ceilings
While smoke detectors should be placed in all of these locations, understand that their height is also critical. Smoke rises, so it will strike smoke detectors placed on ceilings or high on walls first. While they should be placed high up in the rooms or hallways, they should not be placed close to an air vent. Airflow from the vent may blow smoke away from the detector and delay its activation in the event of a fire.
5. More Tips About Smoke Detectors
Here are some more things to keep in mind about smoke detectors:
- Do not apply paint, stickers, or decorations to smoke detectors. Doing this can make them ineffective.
- Check if your smoke alarms are dual-sensor, and if they are not, consider installing ones that are for better protection. Dual sensor alarms use ionization and photoelectric sensors to detect different types of fires so you’ll be warned early no matter what kind of fire begins in your home.
- Interconnecting your smoke detectors so they will all sound if one detects smoke is a great extra precaution to take. You can do this through hard-wiring or wireless technology with models made by the same manufacturer.
- Don’t forget to test your smoke alarms regularly and change the batteries when they are running low. It’s a good idea to test the alarms at least every month and use the batteries recommended by the manufacturer.
Colorado’s Carbon Monoxide Safety Act
As important as smoke detector placement at home is, know that you also should have carbon monoxide detectors at home. Carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless gas that is responsible for many deaths each year. It can come from cooking, the use of heating equipment, and fireplaces. In March of 2009, Colorado House Bill 1091 was signed into law requiring carbon monoxide alarms in all residential properties.
The Colorado Carbon Monoxide Safety Act states that carbon monoxide detectors must be placed near bedrooms in a home that is heated by fossil fuel, has a fireplace or fuel-burning appliance, or an attached garage. If you do not already have carbon monoxide detectors, purchase one for each bedroom. It should be placed fifteen feet or closer to the entrance of the bedroom.