Proper fire alarm installation and maintenance is imperative for the safety of your home. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that 60 percent of home fire deaths occurred in properties that did not have working smoke alarms. These devices are literal lifesavers when they are installed and maintained correctly.
Some fire alarm units may also include a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that is responsible for approximately 170 deaths in the United States every year. Since it is impossible for humans to detect this gas, having a detector in your home is critical. These detectors can be integrated into fire alarms or installed independently.
Fire Alarm Installation
Fire alarms should be placed on walls or ceilings inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. On levels that do not have sleeping areas, an alarm should be positioned near the stairs and in a major living space. In the basement, alarms should be located on the ceiling near the stairs. In kitchens, an alarm should be installed at least 10 feet away from a cooking appliance. Fire alarms also need to be positioned away from windows, ducts, vents and doors as the air flow from these sources may prevent a fire alarm from working properly.
Since smoke rises, it is important to install fire alarms within 12 inches of the ceiling. On pitched ceilings, the alarm must be placed within three feet of the peak. Do not place the alarm within four inches of the peak, as this can affect its functionality.
Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed in a hallway or room outside each sleeping area of the home. These detectors can be placed anywhere but should not be accessible to children or covered by drapes, furniture or other obstructions.
How Do I Install a Fire Alarm?
The NFPA encourages homeowners and renters to install alarms that bear the “label of a recognized testing laboratory” and recommend interconnected smoke alarm systems for the best protection. Be sure to hire a professional if you choose to install an interconnected alarm system.
For unconnected fire alarms, installation is simple once you have found the ideal location. Follow the instructions on the alarm packaging. Installation typically involves drilling small holes and attaching the mounting bracket with screws. Then insert a battery into the alarm and slip it into the bracket. Once it is in place, push the test button to ensure that the alarm is functioning properly.
How Do I Maintain a Fire Alarm?
Alarms should be tested monthly using the ‘test’ button on the device. If the test ever fails, replace the battery immediately and test it again. Even with regular testing, the NFPA recommends replacing the battery every year. Testing and battery replacement includes interconnected, electric-powered alarm systems, as all home fire and carbon monoxide alarms have a battery backup.
Thank you for reading and helping to keep your home safe! Stay tuned for more tips here on Discover!
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