Smoke Detectors

Most home fire deaths happen in the middle of the night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. A smoke detector can save your life by waking you and giving you time to escape. When purchasing a smoke alarm, look for one that is accepted by an independent testing facility such as Underwriters Laboratories or Factory Mutual.

Location, Testing and Maintenance

The best place for your smoke alarms:

  • On every level of your home, including the basement and workshop
  • Outside every bedroom
  • On the ceiling or on the wall, 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling. Keep detectors away from air vents.

Check the alarm batteries once a month by pressing the test button with your finger. The batteries should be replaced once a year.

You should clean the alarm by following the manufacturer’s instructions. The grillwork on the detector should be vacuumed periodically to keep it dust-free.

Preventing Nuisance Alarms 

To prevent false alarms, move the detector away from a kitchen or bathroom. You may also want to consider purchasing a smoke alarm, like a photoelectric, that’s less sensitive to common causes of false alarms. Some smoke alarms also are equipped with a silencing feature, so that nuisance alarms can be stopped quickly and easily.