How Many Smoke Detectors Should You Have In Your Home

One of the important installations of the American household is a smoke detector. Whether it is in the kitchen, or covers different parts of the home, it is crucial to have one in your home or around any property in general.

Statistics state that 3 out of 5 deaths caused by home fires are because of not having or non-functioning smoke detectors and that in itself is a pretty big ratio because home fires can easily be avoided just by having a functioning smoke detector and well-maintained devices. Smoke detectors probably would require you to check them once or maybe twice annually – which isn’t much to be honest. Changing the battery or cleaning out the device takes hardly a few minutes. 

Where Should You Place Smoke Detectors in Your Home

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When you think how many smoke detectors do I need, it really depends on the square footage of your home, and also your affordability. The National Fire Protection Association provides guidelines for homeowners when it comes to installing smoke detectors in their homes. 

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According to the NFPA, if your home has different levels, you should have a smoke detector on every level, including the basement. But where you should mainly be installing smoke detectors is outside sleeping areas, bedrooms, and living rooms basically – and in kitchens of course, but approximately 10 feet away from stoves and ovens. 

Ideally, smoke detectors are placed on ceilings, but if otherwise then it is advised to place them higher up on walls, around 12 inches away from the ceiling. It’s always advised to not install them near doors or windows because a draft can interfere and trigger false alarms. And we know how much of a task it is on its own to shut off a false alarm. 

So when it comes to deciding on the average number of smoke detectors every household should have, it could be anything from 2 to 20; anything in between, or even more because it usually depends on the size of your home. Two would be enough for let’s say a studio apartment, as opposed to a proper family home of five or six bedrooms which would probably require one in every single room, kitchen, stairwell, living area, and other parts of the home. 

Types of Smoke Detectors You Should Know Of

Smoke detectors generally come in two variants: battery-operated and wired ones. Both are pretty easy to install, with wired ones requiring a few steps to follow if you’re installing them yourself, in order to avoid any hazards. But one thing that proves to be a disadvantage of battery-operated smoke detectors, is the fact that when the alarm goes off, it’s every individual device for itself – whereas, in the case of wired smoke detectors, they are interconnected so one alarm triggers all those that are connected. 

There are also two types of smoke detectors: ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors, where the former ones are more responsive to fast burning and flaming fires, and the latter can catch onto smoldering fires. It is often recommended to get a smoke detector that is a combination of both, or better yet, get a smart smoke detector!

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How to Install a Smoke Detector by Yourself 

Installing smoke detectors doesn’t take much rocket science knowledge. If you were to follow the instructions well enough as dictated in the instruction manual that comes with the device, you’re good. But here is a step-by-step breakdown of a general installation process of a smoke detector. 

  1. You must first shut off the power supply from the main circuit breaker, of the power outlet(s) where you would be installing your smoke detector(s). This is a necessary precaution considering electrical wires are involved.  


  1. If you are trying to replace an old smoke detector then you must first remove it and its mounting plate as well. Install the mounting plate of the new smoke detector once the old one is removed. 


  1. Installing the mounting plate is pretty simple. All you have to do is place the plate around the outlet and mark the points for accuracy, wherever it would be fixed into the ceiling or the wall. Once you have the points marked, just screw the plate in. 


  1. When the new mounting plate is fixed in its place, you must gently take the wiring out the opening of the plate to make the next step easier.


  1. The next step involves connecting the wires to the designated ports behind the device. You should also refer to the instruction manual to know which wire connects where to avoid the hassle of removing the device and fixing the wiring all over again.


  1. Once you’ve connected the wires, fix the device into its mounting plate. 


  1. When the smoke detector is fixed into its mounting plate, you then switch the power back on. If the lights on the device come on or begin to flicker, you will know that your device is ready to start working!


Note: If in the case you have a Smart Smoke Detector, they are installed in the same way as any regular wired smoke detector. One thing, however, after switching the power back on to the device from the main circuit breaker, your smart smoke device must be configured through its mobile app

Final thoughts

Smoke detectors really are the unsung heroes of our homes. Having functioning ones can really help save you a lot of trouble and even prove to be life-saving in many circumstances. If you’re looking to upgrade your smoke detector system then head on over to FirstEnergy’s website Their collection of smart smoke detectors won’t disappoint! 

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