There are a lot of measures that need to be taken to protect your home from house fires. One of the most basic safety features that most people take for granted is the smoke detector. Smoke detectors will only effectively protect your home if they are operational and placed correctly throughout the house. Follow these tips for smoke detector placement so they will alert you in case of a fire.
Smoke Detector Placement: Smoke Rises
Smoke rises quickly, so it will gather near the ceiling if a fire breaks out. For this reason, smoke detectors need to be placed overhead. Installation on the ceiling is best, but if that isn’t possible, install the device high on the wall within 12 inches of the ceiling.
Pitched ceilings are a different story because the detector cannot be installed at the highest point. For vaulted ceilings, attach the detector between 1 and 3 feet from the apex of the ceiling.
Protection While You are Sleeping
When people are sleeping, they won’t be aware of danger without a loud warning. Every bedroom should have a smoke detector inside of it, in case a fire starts in the bedroom. Also, place smoke detectors outside of bedroom doors in the hallway. This way, whether the bedroom door is open or shut, a sleeping person will be alerted to a fire.
Smoke Detector Placement in the Basement and Attic
Every level of the home should have at least one smoke detector, including the basement and attic. Some homes have a furnace in the basement or attic, or other electric or gas devices. Even electrical wiring in these locations can start a fire. Just because these aren’t living spaces doesn’t mean they don’t need smoke detectors.
Testing Smoke Detectors
Once your smoke detectors are installed in all the right places, be sure to maintain them. Test your smoke detectors once per month, on the first of the month. Press the button and make sure it beeps. Even if you don’t think the batteries are dead, change them twice a year when the time changes. Smoke detectors expire after 10 years, so install new ones as needed.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
CO detectors are equally important as smoke detectors, especially in homes with gas appliances. Carbon monoxide is a deadly, odorless, and invisible gas. These detectors should be installed 5 feet from the floor instead of up high. Test them on the same day that you test your smoke detectors.