Every year houses and lives are lost in house fires, due to a lack of safety devices and protocols. The most important safety system present in a home is the smoke alarm. Proper smoke detector placement allows you plenty of time to evacuate the building in the case of a house fire. Let’s look at some important information about smoke detectors in the home and how to use and maintain these devices.

Types of Smoke Detectors

There are three types of smoke alarms commonly used in a home. Because heat and smoke rise, installing these devices on or near the ceiling is best. If you cannot install a smoke detector on the ceiling, position it high on the wall, between 4 and 12 inches from the ceiling.

  • Photoelectric alarms work best for smoldering, smoky fires that spread more slowly.
  • Ionization detectors detect fires that are hot and moving quickly with large flames.
  • Combination alarms use both photoelectric and ionization technology to detect fire and smoke as effectively as possible.

Placement in the Home

When installing smoke detectors at your house, look up local and state laws regarding how many smoke alarms must be located in each part of your home. While the minimum requirements are a good start, most homeowners decide to invest in more detectors to keep their families safe.

  • Install a smoke alarm in every bedroom and sleeping area, including the basement, attic, family room, living room, and anywhere that you might fall asleep.
  • Place smoke detectors 10 feet away from cooking appliances to avoid frequent false alarms.
  • Never paint over a smoke detector or place stickers over it, as these can prevent early detection.
  • Use smoke alarms from the same manufacturer when connecting them.

Maintaining Smoke Detectors in the Home

After installation, smoke detectors need to be maintained. Test every smoke alarm once a month using the test button located on the device. Change the batteries twice a year on a memorable day, like when Daylight Savings Time begins and ends. The devices themselves are suitable for ten years of use. After ten years, replace the smoke detectors in your home.

Master Home Inspections offers inspection services to homebuyers and sellers in Southwest Virginia. Contact us to request an appointment.