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With cold weather and the holidays just around the corner, make sure your home is safe for your family. Whether you’re hosting friends or staying home with your immediate family this season, test your smoke detectors before lighting a fire in the fireplace or getting started with holiday cooking. Learn about proper smoke detector placement in the home and verify your devices are installed correctly.

In the winter, we rely on heating systems to keep our homes warm. Whether you use a fireplace, furnace, space heaters, or a wood stove, it’s important to make sure your smoke detectors are working.

To keep your family safe, test the devices monthly. This is an easy way to get the kids involved with home safety. Have children set a reminder on their smart device to test the smoke detectors and help them replace the batteries twice every year.

Basic Rules for Smoke Detector Placement

In general, every level of your home should have at least one smoke detector. Install detectors on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs so they will sound an alarm if a fire starts on a lower level.

Throughout the home, install the smoke detectors on the ceiling or near the ceiling, high up on the wall. Make sure devices are away from windows, doors, ceiling fans, and HVAC vents. Airflow will affect the ability of the device to give an early warning alarm.

Sleeping Areas

Because family members are less alert when sleeping, install smoke detectors in each bedroom and in the hallway outside the bedrooms. If you or a loved one enjoys naps in a recliner in the living room or on the couch in the basement, make sure you have devices installed in those rooms, as well.

Smoke Detectors in the Kitchen

House fires commonly start in the kitchen. Unfortunately, the most common place for a smoke detector to be removed or disabled is also the kitchen. To help reduce the risk of false alarms, install your kitchen smoke detector 10 to 12 feet away from any cooking appliances.

Other Important Areas for Smoke Detector Placement

The clothes dryer is also a frequent cause of fires in the home. Clean the lint trap after each load and make sure the smoke detector in your laundry room is working by pressing the test button. Replace batteries as necessary.

Because fires can occur almost anywhere, make sure you have smoke detectors in the attic, basement, outbuildings, and the garage.

OBX Home Inspections provides home inspection services to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Contact us to schedule an inspection.