Smoke Detector Placement – You’re Almost Certainly Getting Wrong (and How To Get It Right)
Smoke Detector Placement
Each year the fire service is called out to over half a million fires which result in over eight-hundred deaths, most of which would have been preventable if smoke detectors had been installed. You are twice as likely to die in house fire with a home with no smoke detectors than in one that does have sensors fitted.
Types of Detectors
There are smoke detectors, heat detectors, CO detectors and combined detectors. Where possible, for early activation, smoke detectors should be used. However where smoke is likely to be present (i.e. a kitchen) the heat detectors should be used. CO detectors are primarily designed to detect the deadly gas leaking from a faulty gas appliance, however where very fire retardant objects such as settees aetc are placed and little else combustible then a slow smouldering build up could be detected by a CO sensor. Combined sensors, as they sound, look for both heat and smoke and are primarily designed to avoid false alarms
Where should they be positioned?
Smoke detectors should be fitted ideally on a flat ceiling, 300mm away from any wall or light fitting. As smoke travels across a ceiling often there are air pockets where the wall meets the ceiling and light fittings could potentially deflect the smoke from entering the detector chamber. On a sloped ceiling smoke detectors can be installed within 600mmm of the peak whilst heat detectors should be within 150mmm of the peak.
CO detectors though are very different. As CO is almost identical density to air is slowly mixes rather than quickly rising like smoke. CO detectors should be fitted vertically on a wall, 150mm above doors or windows and at least 150mm below a ceiling.
Testing smoke alarms
Once installed smoke alarms should be tested regularly remember #TestItTuesday. The batteries should be changed once a year unless you have a ten-year battery. On ten years it is wise to replace the whole unit. Each time the clocks change make your routine to vacuum the detectors with a soft-brush attachment.