Tips for Proper Smoke Detector Placement in Your Home

Congratulations on your new house! There’s nothing quite like holding the keys to a house you own, is there? We know you’re thinking of furnishings, window treatments, rugs, and shower curtains. You should give a thought to smoke alarms. Too many fatal fires happen in the early hours of the morning. If you have a family or are planning to have one, make sure they’ll be safe from the beginning.

Numerous homeowners buy one smoke alarm and call it a day. If you have a three to four bedroom home on two to three levels counting the basement or a ranch home of up to or over 2,000 square feet, then you’ll need more than one smoke alarm. You’ll need five, to be exact, and four carbon monoxide alarms.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends placing a smoke alarm in each bedroom, outside each bedroom, and on every level of the house. They also recommend installing a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of the house and in each bedroom. But where should you place them?


Place the alarm on a wall four to twelve inches from the ceiling. It can be placed on the ceiling four inches from the wall. Do not place near or above a door due to drafts canceling the warning sound.

Outside Bedrooms

Place the alarm on a wall four to twelve inches from the ceiling or on the ceiling four inches from a wall.

Living Areas

Install smoke alarms in the living room or the dining room. If you live in a home with an open floor plan, then place your alarms in living, dining, and family room spaces. Install one on the wall near the stairs leading to the second floor.


Because they can be set off by cooking mishaps, fire alarms should not be placed near cooking areas or any cooking appliances. Place them near enough to sniff trouble, though, like a wall on the outside of the kitchen.


Depending how big the basement is, you might want to place two. One should go on the stairway to the basement, and one or two in the basement.

Cathedral Ceilings

You’ll need a ladder. In rooms with cathedral ceilings, place the smoke alarm on the ceiling between four and 36 inches from the peak of the ceiling.

Smoke alarms have changed with changing technology to include voice warnings of fire. They can be integrated with each other over WiFi and smart phone apps. They even tell you where in the house the fire is located. So while you’re marveling at your brand new house, keep your family safe.