How-To Videos

Installing Smoke Alarms in Your Home

By: Danny Lipford
Installing a smoke alarm.

Since smoke rises, install smoke alarms on or near the ceiling.

Smoke alarms are your first line of defense against a fire in your home. Here’s what you need to know about smoke alarms, including which type to choose and how to install and maintain them in your house.

Types of smoke alarms available:

  • Optical Detectors: Less prone to false alarms and will react faster to smoldering fires.
  • Ionization Detectors: Better at sensing flaming fires but prone to false alarms.
  • Combination Detectors: Use optical and ionization sensors in the same unit to provide protection from both types of fires.

How to install smoke alarms:

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home.
  • Place an alarm in or near each bedroom of your home.
  • Write the date purchased on the back of each alarm.
  • Position alarms on or near the ceiling and away from corners.
  • Write the replacement date on each battery and change batteries as needed or every 6 to 12 months.
  • Clean alarms yearly by gently vacuuming or blow detectors out with canned air.
  • Replace the alarms every 10 years.

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3 Comments on “Installing Smoke Alarms in Your Home”

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  • p Says:
    October 19th, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    where are national guidelines on how know when detector has expired?

    Are there detectors that do not expire?
    Thanks! P



  • dolores dower Says:
    January 11th, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I have the same problem. Electrician wants 75.00 for service call and I have to go out and buy the smoke detector for him to install.



  • Kitty Corbett Says:
    November 9th, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Your film clip was grossly misnamed in that it did not include any instructions at all pertaining to how to install a smoke detector. How to choose, where to place, what to expect, etc., but not how to install. As what I was trying to find out at 1:30 a.m. was how to uninstall one which keeps beeping about every 15 minutes, it was a waste of time. It would be a mercy if you would recommend to landlords that they install battery-operated smoke detectors and change the battery every year. My landlord has installed a hard-wired unit I can’t shut up nor find a way to detach it.


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