Home Smoke Detector Installation Best Practices

Posted October 12th, 2022 by SimpliSafe

Smoke detectors are imperative to have in your home to ensure utmost safety in the risk of a fire or a carbon monoxide leak. But, if home smoke detectors aren’t installed correctly, then they may not work as effectively. And, if they’re not working effectively, then it could put you and the other household members in danger. 

The good news is that installing home smoke detectors -- and, installing them correctly -- doesn’t have to be hard. 

Here are smoke detector installation best practices:

Decide Which Smoke Detectors is Best

In terms of best practices for smoke detectors, it’s important to start off on the right foot -- or, rather, buying a smoke detector that not only meets the appropriate safety standards, but meets what you’re looking for. This might require you to do some research into various smoke detectors to explore what features make you most comfortable.

For instance, there’s SimpliSafe’s smoke detector built with photoelectric sensors to help detect the smoke before a fire actually starts, and when there is smoke detected, will sound an alarm and will notify and dispatch the fire department right away if you have the monitoring service. 

Determine Where Smoke Detectors Will Go

Once you decide which smoke detector works for you, you’ll need to determine where your smoke detectors are going to go in your home. Smoke detectors, first and foremost, should be placed in each level of your home. This includes attics and basements. 

Next, you’ll want to place smoke detectors in all the areas that you’ll want to ensure you’ll hear the smoke detector if it were to be triggered. This might be different depending on the layout of your home or who is living inside your home, but think: bedrooms (or anywhere where people will be sleeping), hallways, laundry rooms, and of course, the kitchen. Also, be sure to place it in areas you might not think of -- such as rooms of the house you don’t go into often -- as these could be the areas of your home that might be most vulnerable because you simply wouldn’t think a fire could start there.

Lastly, is more specifically where the smoke detector will be placed. Generally, since smoke rises, you’ll want to install your smoke detector on the ceiling. If it goes on the wall, it should be as high up as possible. Finally, make sure the smoke detector isn’t near anything that could make it hard for smoke to reach it and thus set off the alarm, like a window or a doorway that gets a draft.

Some people might be apprehensive about installing a smoke alarm in the kitchen, as it could get set off easily whenever you cook. But, practicing certain cooking practices -- like using a fan or hood when cooking, or ensuring things won’t burn -- can help with this. 

Read the Installation Guidelines Carefully

Once you’ve completed those pre-steps, it’s time to install your smoke detector or your device that includes smoke detection. Depending on where you purchase it from, you might find that the installation instructions are quite easy to follow (which could also be another factor that you look at in your purchasing decision).

Read the installation guidelines carefully. Make sure you have all the tools you need, if any, and maybe even ask someone else to help you out if you’re feeling unsure. Many companies also offer professional installation support, if that’s something you’d feel more comfortable with. 

Test Your Smoke Detectors

Even if you’re confident installing a smoke detector on your own, you might be wondering how you can be certain that it’s working correctly. What if you didn’t install it right, and then there’s an emergency? This is a concern that many people share.

The good news is that one of the best-best practices for installing a home smoke detector is to test it. Testing methods may differ slightly from one smoke detector to another, but usually, all you have to do is hit the “test” button. Again, reading the instruction manual to make sure you’re doing this correctly and the test is working is important to the entire installation. 

Follow Smoke Detector Maintenance Protocol

A smoke detector can only stay functional if you practice proper maintenance -- the final best practice for home smoke detector installation. This involves a few things:

  • Test your smoke detector monthly

  • Change the batteries regularly -- usually, once a year

  • Clean the smoke detector and the area around it, as dust can interfere with the functioning

  • Make sure every adult in the home is aware if smoke detector maintenance