You’ve done the hard part: you’ve bought new smoke detectors and now, you just need to place them around your home.

Sorry to disappoint, but the positioning of your smoke detector is just as important as the device itself.

Failure to place the smoke detector in the right place, and it may not activate when needed. Now that poses a real threat in the event of a fire. It could mean the difference between life and death.

So, it’s super important. Don’t ignore this blog post!

With this in mind, this blog post will walk you through how the technology works and the best place to put smoke detectors, from walls to shelves and ceilings.

How do smoke detectors work?

Before we dive into the placement of your smoke detector, let’s discuss how they actually work.

In the most basic sense: smoke alarms detect small particles in the air using two main technologies. Once a medium to large amount of particles is detected, the alarm is sounded to alert the occupants to evacuate the property and dial the emergency services.

And while, of course, sometimes the alarm may trigger accidentally, getting the placement right ensures it works how it should.

And for those a little more interested in how they really work, there are two main types of smoke detectors:

  1. Ionization detectors
  2. Photoelectric smoke detectors 

Ionization detectors

Ionization smoke detectors utilize a small radioactive material that charges (or ionizes) air molecules between two metal plates. When too many particles come into contact with the current, it sounds the alarm.

And don’t worry, the radioactive material is contained inside the device – it’s also only a very small amount of radioactive material and is completely safe.

Photoelectric smoke detectors 

Second, we have photoelectric smoke detectors.

These work by detecting light reflected from particles inside of a sensing chamber. When particles enter the chamber, if the light is reflected (above the threshold), the alarm is sounded.

So, while both work in similar ways, understanding how they work is key to knowing where to position them on your property.

Can I put a smoke detector on a shelf?

Installing a smoke detector on a shelf is easier than on a ceiling. You’d likely choose a battery-powered option too.

Placing a smoke detector on a shelf is a great alternative if you have high ceilings (it would take a while for the sensor to be activated).

Although, bugs may trigger the sensor. So, protect these from insects, and you’ll increase safety.

It’s also common to place carbon monoxide sensors on shelves and on countertops.

Can a smoke detector be mounted on a wall?

Although ceilings are the preferred location for smoke detectors to provide the best coverage, walls are another option.

Despite this, avoid placing these in kitchens (use heat alarms instead) and place them higher up the wall to prevent temperamental triggering of the alarm. 

If you find your alarm sounded when it shouldn’t, then it could be due to poor positioning of the detector. 

How far should a smoke detector be from a wall?

For the best response of the alarm, the detector should ideally be placed in the center of the ceiling, away from walls and other obstructions.

Aim for a central location and avoid ceiling joins.

If you’re deciding between installing smoke detector on wall or ceiling, we’d typically recommend the ceiling. 

The best place to put a smoke detector

To summarise: the best place to put a smoke detector is on the ceiling, away from walls and ceiling joints.

But if that’s not possible, or if you have super high ceilings, then you can also place these on walls. Just make sure to protect them from insects and bugs to prevent them from accidentally triggering.

Are you looking for a new smoke alarm? Shop the Kentucky Secured wireless smoke and carbon monoxide detector today.

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