Where should smoke alarms NOT be installed?

Friday, April 3, 2020

The logic behind where smoke alarms should NOT be installed is simply to avoid locations where they will not function properly or the environment may damage the unit. Here’s our list, with an explanation for each one:

• In a kitchen, or near a kitchen in a location where air currents will draw cooking smoke into alarm sensor and cause frequent false alarms.

• Near fluorescent lights. The electrical field around the transformer in the light may interfere with alarm function. Keep a minimum of one foot away.

• In a bathroom, or any other humid, steamy area. This will deteriorate the sensors over time and may cause false alarms. Keep smoke alarms at least 10 feet away from dishwashers, showers, saunas. 

• In any non-living-areas with temperature extremes, below 40º F or above 100º F, such as outdoor rooms, unfinished attics, or basements.

• Anywhere near where combustion particles are produced by something burning. Keep as far away as possible from any furnace, water heater, range, or space heater.

• Near a/c ducts and ceiling fans, and any drafty areas. The air flow may divert any smoke away from the alarm sensor. 

• In any corners at ceiling and wall intersections, or above cove moldings or shelving, which would create “dead air” pockets that smoke will flow around. See the diagram and photo below.

    Also, see our blog posts Where are smoke alarms required to be located? and  Does pushing the test button on a smoke alarm test the smoke sensor device inside? and When should I replace my smoke alarms? and Is it illegal to disconnect a smoke alarm? and Are carbon monoxide alarms required to be installed in homes in Florida?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about SAFETY: 

Why is it important to use "cabinet screws" to mount the upper cabinets in the kitchen?

Is the door between an attached garage and the house required to have a closer (self-closing device)?

Can the smoke sensors in a home security/fire alarm system replace the smoke alarms required by the building code?

Should I get a lightning rod system to protect my house? 

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

How do I safely remove a dead rodent (rat, mouse or squirrel) from the attic?

What is the minimum height of a ceiling fan above the floor?

Should a smoke alarm be installed in the kitchen? 

Why is a double cylinder deadbolt lock on an exterior door a safety hazard? 

Why are rubber washing machine hoses a safety risk?

What can I do to avoid kitchen accidents and injuries?

Are old vinyl tile floors dangerous?  

How can I use safety checks to limit my tenant liability for a rental house?

Do you inspect for trip hazards around the home? 

• Why is an anti-tip device now required behind the range? 

What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic? 

• What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?
    Visit our SAFETY page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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