Where to Locate Detectors

Detectors are to be located on every level of a residence, basement, first floor, second floor, excluding crawl spaces and unfinished attics, and in every separate sleeping area, between sleeping areas and living areas such as the kitchen, garage, basement or utility room. In homes with only one sleeping area on one floor, a detector is to be put in the hallway outside the bedrooms as shown in Figure 1. In single floor homes with two separate sleeping areas, two detectors are required outside each sleeping area as shown in Figure 2. In multi-level homes, detectors should be located outside sleeping areas and at every finished level of the home as shown in Figure 3. Basement level detectors should be located in the bottom of basement stairwells as shown in Figure 4.

Where Not to Locate Detectors
To avoid false alarms or improper operation, avoid installation of smoke detectors in the following areas:

  • Kitchens smoke from cooking may cause a nuisance alarm.
  • Bathrooms excessive steam from a shower may cause a nuisance alarm.
  • Forced air ducts used for heating or air conditioning air movement may prevent smoke from reaching detector.
  • Near furnaces of any type air and dust movement and normal combustion products may cause a nuisance alarm.
  • The "dead air" space where the ceiling meets the wall as shown in Figure 5.
  • The peak of an "A" frame type of ceiling "dead air" at the top may prevent smoke from reaching detector.

Further Information on Detector Location For further information about detector placement consult the National Fire Protection Association's Standard No. 74-1984, titled: "Household Fire Warning Equipment." This publication may be obtained by writing to the Publication Sales Department, National Fire Protection Association, Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA., 02269.

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