The most basic but overlooked safety feature in a home is the smoke detector. These devices sound a loud, high-pitched alarm when they sense smoke. There are different types of smoke detectors, so it is best to find dual-sensor models that use photoelectric and ionization technologies. Review these rules for smoke detector placement to make sure that your home is well-protected.

How Many Smoke Detectors Should I Have?

The answer to this question depends on the layout and size of your house. Factors include the number of bedrooms, levels, and types of appliances in your home. One smoke detector should be installed inside and outside of each bedroom. This way, if someone is sleeping with the door closed, they will be alerted to fire whether it starts inside or outside of the bedroom.

Even if the basement and attic are unfinished, install a smoke detector on these levels. Install a smoke detector in the laundry room because dryers are a common cause of house fires. You also need one near the kitchen, but not placed too close to any cooking appliances that may trigger false alarms.

Smoke Detector Placement: Wall or Ceiling?

The ideal place to install a smoke alarm is on the ceiling, if possible. Smoke rises, so it will collect at the ceiling if there is a fire. If you can’t install it on the ceiling or if the ceiling is pitched, place it high on the wall instead.

For vaulted ceilings, the best smoke detector placement is within 3 feet of the apex of the ceiling but 12 inches away from the peak. A wall-mounted smoke detector in a room with a flat ceiling should be no more than 12 inches away from where the wall and ceiling meet.

Testing Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors cannot be depended on to protect your family and home if they aren’t regularly tested. Go around your house and press the test button once per month. An easy way to remember this task is to put it on the calendar for the first of every month. Change the batteries twice per year or as needed. Schedule this task for daylight savings so you always remember it. Smoke detectors are good for about a decade, so plan on replacing them after 10 years.

Longs GCS Corp. Home Inspections provides home inspections to Upstate New York. Contact us to schedule an appointment.