Smoke Alarms: Installation, Maintenance & Testing
How do I choose a smoke alarm?
Decide if you need a fire alarm that operates on batteries or electric current. All laboratory-tested smoke alarms will protect you if they are properly installed and maintained.
How many smoke alarms do I need?
You will need at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement level. New homes require smoke alarms in each sleeping room. On floors without bedrooms, install alarms in or near dens, living rooms, family rooms, and other living areas. If someone in your home is hearing impaired, you can select a smoke alarm that flashes or is equipped with a strobe light.
Where should I install smoke alarms?
Wall-mounted smoke alarms should be positioned 4" - 12" from the ceiling. Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed at least 4" away from the nearest wall. In a room with a pitched ceiling, mount the alarm at or near the ceiling’s highest point.
How should I maintenance and test my smoke alarms?
Smoke alarms should be tested, at least once a month, by pushing the “test button." New batteries should be installed at least once a year, or per your manufacturer’s recommendation. A good habit to develop is to change batteries in the spring when you turn your clock ahead and in the fall when you turn your clock back. Also, it is a good idea to keep your smoke detectors free of dust to ensure they function when needed. This can be done with either a vacuum or can of compressed air.
Home Fire Safety Checklist