Types of Installation
There are four types of smoke alarms available.
Hardwiring supplies power to the detector from the building's main electrical source and requires electrical expertise to install. If you are going to invest in hardwired smoke alarms it is a good idea to find one that also has a battery backup. That way you will have protection if the electricity is off. Our local hardware store carries these models made by KIDDE in stock. That might be an important issue in such cases where the building may have been struck by lighting or you are using alternative heating and lighting sources. You must remember to check the batteries on a regular basis to assure the added protection.
Battery powered detectors come with instructions for easy mounting. In about a year some detectors will begin to emit beeps every minute or so, and will keep this up for a week or longer. This tells the owner that the battery has begun to fall below the safe minimum of power and should be replaced. The newer models may have a long life battery that will last up to 10 years. There are also some newer models that are considered "tamper proof" models and have a battery that is sealed in the detector. In this case it will require that the unit be replaced. These have an expected life of approximately 10 years.
For those that are hearing impaired there are detectors that not only have an audible alarm but a bright light as well.
Combination Smoke / CO
At this time we have not seen the benefit of having a combination smoke / carbon monoxide detector. We have not seen any with a digital readout for the carbon monoxide detector which gives valuable information as to the levels of CO.
Location of Installation
Detector should be placed on ceiling or on the wall 6 to 12 inches from the ceiling.
Homes With One Sleeping Area
Detector should be place centrally located between the bedrooms.
Homes With More Than One Sleeping Area
Detectors should be located in each sleeping area.
Detectors should be located on each story of the family living area.
Basement level smoke detector should be installed in or near basement, not at the top of the stairs.
Avoid Nuisance Alarms
To avoid nuisance alarms place detectors:
- Away from furnace or air conditioner vents.
- Away from bathroom to avoid steam.
- Away from cooking area and fireplace.
If nuisance alarm persists:
- Move detector a few inches in either direction.
- Switch type of detector - i.e., Ionization to Photoelectric.
- Contact your local Fire Department
Things to Know
Detectors should not be placed within 6 inches of where walls and ceilings meet or near heating and cooling ducts. A detector placed in these areas may not receive the flow of smoke required to activate.