Install Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors / Alarms

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors can alert you to danger in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping. To wake up and survive a nighttime fire, you must have working detectors!

Installation Areas

You should install detectors in the following areas:

  • Detectors outside each sleeping area (a common hallway, for example).
  • Detectors on each level of your home if more than one story. (including the basement).
  • An additional detector in each bedroom, as you should sleep with your door closed.


Placement of detectors is very important. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and use these guidelines to help you.

  • Mount on the ceiling at least six inches from the wall or on a wall between six and twelve inches from the ceiling, but keep detectors about six inches away from the corner where the ceiling and wall meet (the corner is a "dead air space" where the detector won't be in the path of smoke travel).
  • For high pitched or "cathedral" ceilings, mount the detectors three feet from the highest point.
  • Avoid placement in the path of ceiling fans, air conditioning or heater vents.
  • Make certain smoke detectors are UL listed.
  • Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.
  • When replacing smoke detectors, replace them with a lithium battery smoke detector (a lithium battery will last the life of the detector).

Test Your Detectors

Test detectors once a month, following the manufacturer's directions, and replace batteries once a year, or whenever a detector "chirps" or "beeps" to signal low battery power. A good time to replace your smoke detector batteries is when you reset your clocks for daylight savings time. Never "borrow" a detector's battery for another use - a disabled detector can't save your life.

Teach Your Children

Make sure children know what an alarm is. Children must know:

  • Alarms warn them of danger.
  • Get out of the house immediately when they hear the sound of the alarm.
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors are not toys and should not be played with.
Show your child how important these dangers are by testing your alarms every month.