Where should I install the smoke alarm?

In Newly Constructed Homes (Single Family)

Smoke detectors are required on every story of the dwelling unit including the basement.  They are to be installed in approved locations and hardwired, interconnected in conformance with the electrical code.  NFPA Number 70 and be provided with a battery backup power source.  Location of detectors should be:

  • In the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms, not more than ten (10) feet away from the bedroom exit
  • Detectors are also required within all bedrooms;
  • In each story within the dwelling unit, including the basement.
  • Note:  (One in bi-level without an intervening door can cover both floors as long as it is less than one full story).

Watch dead air spaces, i.e., 4-foot by 4-foot ceiling/wall corners; Sidewall mounting allowed advise 9 feet dead center from the ceiling; Kitchens and bathrooms cause nuisance alarms.  Manufacturers’ specs call for a five (5) foot clearance or the use of a photoelectric unit is warranted.  (If one is a photo, then all units are unless listed with U.L. as compatible).

Nuisance Alarm Control:  Some smoke detectors – manufacturers provide a model with a “hush” feature, which momentarily switches to a reduced sensitivity condition.  This reduction in sensitivity allows annoying and unwanted alarms to be silenced for approximately fifteen (15) minutes.  It is required that a copy of the manufacturer’s specs (user’s manual) for the installation of smoke detectors be left at the construction site.  Complete information on replacement maintenance and operation is explained within this manual.

Existing Homes with Battery Operated Units (Single Family)

Smoke detectors are required on each level of the premises and outside of each separate sleeping area as a minimum.

For complete coverage in a residential unit, smoke detectors can be installed in every room, in hallways, storage areas, and the basement.

However, we suggest that you:

  • Put a smoke detector in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms, not more than ten (10) feet away from the bedroom exit doors.
  • Two detectors are required in homes with two-bedroom areas.
  • Put a smoke detector on every floor of a multi-floor home.
  • Put a smoke detector inside every bedroom.
  • Put a smoke detector inside every room where someone sleeps with the door partly or completely closed.  Smoke could be blocked by the closed door.  Also, a hallway alarm may not wake up the sleeper if the door is closed.
  • Put smoke detectors at both ends of the bedroom hallway if the hallway is more than 40 feet (12 meters) long.
  • Put basement detectors at the bottom of the basement stairwell.
  • Put second-floor detectors at the top of the first-to-second floor stairwell.  He sure no door or other obstruction blocks the path of smoke to the detector.
  • Put detector as close to the center of the ceiling when ceiling mounted.  If this is not practical, but the detector on the ceiling, no closer than 4 inches from any wall or corner.
  • If ceiling mounted is not possible and wall mounting is permitted, put wall-mounted detectors between 7 and 9 inches from the ceiling.
  • Some rooms have sloped, peaked, or gabled ceilings.  If yours do, mount detectors 3 feet measured horizontally from the highest point of the ceiling.
  • For added safety, some companies now market a dual-chambered model which combines an ionization type and a photoelectric type smoke detector.  It’s like having two detectors at once.

Show All Answers

1. My smoke alarm goes off a lot. What is wrong with it?
2. My smoke alarm beeps. What is wrong with it?
3. Are any smoke alarms not recommended?
4. What kind of smoke alarm should I buy?
5. Where should I install the smoke alarm?
6. my landlord refuses to install a smoke alarm in my apartment. Who is responsible?