Each year, there are over 300,000 house fires in the United States. The most damage and destruction occurs in homes with defective or missing smoke alarms. To keep your family and property safe, install smoke detectors throughout your house. Here are a few useful tips for smoke detector placement in the home.

General Guidelines for Smoke Detector Placement

Smoke rises, so when installing smoke detectors install them on the ceiling or high on the wall within 12” of the ceiling. In a home with more than one floor, detectors should be installed on every level. Proper placement for these devices is away from windows, doors, HVAC vents, and ventilation fans. Airflow can disrupt their function and cause a delayed alarm.

Once a month, test your smoke detecting devices to verify that they are working properly. If you have children, they can help with this task. You’ll be teaching the kids the importance of smoke detectors and they will become familiar with the sound of the alarm. Twice each year, replace the batteries in the devices. Change the batteries when daylight savings time begins and ends to easily remember this task.


Because family members are less alert to the danger of fire when sleeping, place a smoke detector in each bedroom of your home. If a fire begins in the bedroom, the alarm will sound immediately. In case a fire breaks out elsewhere in the home, detectors should also be installed in the hallways outside of sleeping areas. This will provide an early alert to anyone who is asleep.

Smoke Detector Placement in the Kitchen

The kitchen is a common area for a house fire to start. Cooking accidents can happen and it’s important to be alerted when they do. The kitchen is also the room where it is most common for a smoke detector to be deactivated or uninstalled because of annoying false alarms. To help prevent false alarms from burned food, install your kitchen smoke detector 10-12 feet away from any cooking appliance.

Other Areas for Smoke Detectors in the Home

The laundry room is another area where house fires begin. The combination of lint from clothing and the heat of the dryer can ignite a fire. Keep the lint trap clean and make sure you have a working smoke detector in the laundry room. Along with the laundry room, install detectors in the garage, in the basement, near the furnace, in the attic, and in the outbuilding or garden shed.

Smoke detectors are essential for the safety of your home and family. Do an inventory of your home to verify you have working detectors installed throughout your living spaces. Test them regularly and replace the entire devices after 10 years of use.

Reveal360 Inspection Services offers home inspections to customers in Northern Colorado. Contact us to schedule an appointment.