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Where Do I Place a Smoke Detector in My Bedroom? Types, Facts, & FAQ

finger pressed the smoke detector test button

Every year, there are about 2,620 deaths due to residential fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). While there are several reasons for these outbreaks, about 60% of the outbreak is as a result of either the absence of a smoke detector or a faulty smoke detector in the home.

By now, you know that it is pertinent to install a smoke detector in your home, but you should also know the placement of the detector is important. There are strategic positions to place detectors for them to be effective. So, the big question is; where do I place a smoke detector in my bedroom? Read on to find out the answer.

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How Does a Smoke Detector Work?

First, let us understand the mechanics of a smoke detector. Smoke detectors work by sensing particles in the air using special technologies. The moment they sense these particles and have superseded a certain threshold, they activate an alarm system, which is transmitted to the right authorities, and help is sent to your home.

There are three types of smoke detectors, and the particular type in use will determine the technology used in the sensing process.

The 3 Types of Smoke Detectors

1. Photoelectric Detector

This type of detector has a light beam present in the sensing chambers. When there are particles in the chambers, light reflects off these particles, and the technology enables the detection of this light. When there are no particles, there is nothing for the light to reflect off, so no detections are made, and all is seen as clear. The photoelectric detector is more sensitive to smoky fire.

2. Ionization Detector

smoke detector on the ceiling
Image Credit: Rigby40, Pixabay

This detector has two metal plates facing each other in the sensing chambers. A shielded radioactive material ionizes the air between these two plates, and this triggers the flow of electric current between the plates.

When particles enter the chambers, they interfere with the current flow and carry ions between the plates, thereby reducing the current. When the current reduces to a certain level, it indicates that too many particles have entered the chambers, and these particles are instantly regarded as smoke, and an alarm is triggered. The ionization detector is more sensitive to a flaming fire.

3. Dual-Sensor Detectors

According to the NFPA, it is best to have both types of detectors installed in a home. Preferably, the dual-sensor, which uses both technologies in a single device, can be used.

Oftentimes, we see smoke detectors give off false alarms. For instance, a smoke detector in the kitchen can go off after sensing smoke from cooked food. Also, the detector in the bedroom can react to excessive dust, and a detector close to the bathroom can react to steam.

Scientists and engineers are working on producing smoke detectors that have better sensing abilities that are attuned to the kind of smoke we want them to respond to.

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Why You Should Install a Smoke Detector in Your Bedroom

There are some hot zones in the home where the installation of smoke detectors is highly recommended. One such zone is the bedroom.

According to reports, bedrooms have been the leading location for the outbreak of fires in the past years. The reports also show that candles and cigarettes are the leading causes of the fire in the bedroom. Rooms with electrical appliances, where you charge your mobile phones and laptops, and where you are likely to smoke require detectors in them.

a smoke detector in the ceiling
Image Credit: Zerbor, Shutterstock

Where to Install the Smoke Detectors in Your Bedroom

Smoke detectors should be installed as close to the ceiling as possible. They need to be high because smoke tends to rise fast. Set it up to leave at least a 1-foot gap between the ceiling and the alarm. Ensure that you do not install it very close to the bathroom, as steam from the bathroom can easily trigger the alarm.

Also, ensure that you do not place the smoke detectors beside the doors or windows of your bedroom, and they should also be kept away from the ventilators of your air-conditioners. This is because the flow of air can interfere with the alarm activity.

Having a smart smoke detector system is important. This means that the smoke detectors around the building are connected either by wiring them to the home’s electrical system or by connecting them wirelessly. When they are interlinked, the moment any of the alarms goes off, all the alarms go off. This way, you do not have to worry about missing the sound of the alarm in the basement because it is 2 am and you are sleeping in the bedroom. The alarm in the bedroom will also go off.

Maintaining Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors require little to no maintenance. As long as you periodically check the battery and run a test on the equipment monthly to ensure that it is still functioning, the detector will be effective.

You can conduct this test by pressing the test button. When you hear a normal alarm sound, then the detector is in shape. However, if you hear chirping sounds, then the detector might need a battery replacement, as this is an indication of low battery. It is a good practice to replace the detector’s battery once every year.

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Bottom Line

A smoke alarm should be taken seriously. Everyone in the home, including kids, should be educated on what to do when the alarm goes off. Even if it is a false alarm, do not get used to it as it might someday be real.

Always check to see the source of the smoke before making conclusions. If the alarm is false, you should turn it off and tend to the cause of the alarm. If the alarm is real, and it is a small fire in the pan problem, you can easily put out the fire. If it is a large fire issue or something you are not sure how to handle, then reach out to the emergency center ASAP. A major cause of false alarms is the placement of the detector. A well-placed detector is very unlikely to go off by mistake.

Featured Image Credit: r.classen, Shutterstock


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