When you move into a new house, you probably assume that it has enough smoke detectors installed and that they are in the right places. Perhaps you have lived in your home for years and never given the smoke detectors a second thought. However, there are right and wrong places to install smoke detectors. If there are lacking in certain areas or installed incorrectly, they can’t protect your family from a house fire adequately. Review these tips for smoke detector placement and make sure that your home is properly outfitted with smoke detectors.

Smoke Detector Placement Overhead

The reason why you usually find smoke detectors on the ceiling is that smoke rises and collects at the top of a room. In cases where a detector cannot be installed directly on the ceiling, the next best option is on the wall no more than a foot away from the ceiling. For pitched ceilings, a detector should be located as close to the center of the room as possible. Since it cannot be installed at the highest point of the ceiling, place it between 12 and 36 inches lower than the apex.

How Many Smoke Detectors Should a House Have?

The answer to this question varies based on how many floors the house has, the layout, and the number of bedrooms. The basic rules are that there should be a smoke detector on every level and one in every bedroom. Smoke detectors should also be in the hallways outside of any bedrooms. There should be one near, but not necessarily in, the kitchen. Cooking appliances can cause false alarms, so install the detector 10-15 feet away from the stove, oven, and toaster. It is a good idea to have one in the laundry room, attic, garage, basement, and wherever the furnace is located.

How to Maintain Smoke Detectors

Simply having enough smoke detectors is not enough. If the detectors are not operational because of lack of maintenance, you might as well not have them. Detectors should be tested once per month, no matter if they are battery-powered or hardwired. The batteries of either type should be changed twice per year. Daylight Savings Time is a good time to do this. The devices only have a lifespan of a decade, so replace them after every 10 years.

American Dream Home Inspections provides inspection services for homes, condos, and townhouses throughout Northern and Central New Jersey. Contact us to schedule an appointment.