Operational smoke detectors are necessary for every home. These simple devices save lives and property and should be inspected regularly. To make sure your family and belongings are protected, install your detectors throughout your home. Here are six tips for smoke detector placement and one for carbon monoxide detectors.

Smoke Detector Placement for Bedrooms

Install a smoke detector inside every sleeping area. Place the device on or close to the ceiling near the door. Smoke and heat from a fire will likely seep into the room through cracks around the door first.

If the detector is close to that area, it will alert someone sleeping sooner than if the device was placed near a window. If you install a device on the ceiling, place it five inches away from any wall.


Also, place a smoke detector outside of the bedrooms in the hallway. If a fire happens at night, sleeping individuals will get an earlier warning so they can safely escape the home. Practice your escape plan in the daylight and establish a safe meeting location away from the property.

If you have a ranch style home with a long hallway and bedrooms branching off it, the smoke detector placement is every 30 feet down the hall. You can place them closer together, but do not space them any farther apart.

For two-story or more homes, place smoke detectors at the top of the stairwells. This includes any stairs leading in and out of a basement.

Smoke Detector Placement in Living Spaces

You should have one smoke detector in each living space. If you have a separate living room and family room, both should have their own device. The same goes for dens, offices, and playrooms.

If there are any ceiling fans in the room, install the detector at least three feet away from the blades. The same advice applies to any air vents on or near the ceiling and windows. Any air movement can divert smoke and cause delayed alarms.


The kitchen unit may experience false alarms because of cooking and steam setting off the detector. Install the sensors at least 10 feet away from cooking appliances.

You may opt for a wall model with a hush button. If the system is accidentally triggered, simply push the button to silence it. Wall detectors need to be placed high, close to the ceiling. Follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for placement.


Most smoke detectors are not compatible with garage spaces because of false alarms due to fumes and exhaust in this area. The best placement to catch a garage fire is to install a detector inside the room or hall that connects to the garage.

Smoke Detector Placement in Mobile Homes

Mobile and manufactured homes are required to have the same smoke detector protection as a stick-built house. Place these devices in the bedrooms, hallways, and living spaces. Newer models of manufactured homes may have hard-wired systems pre-installed at the factory.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors protect people and pets from toxic CO gas, but the placement is different from that of the smoke detector. A carbon monoxide detector should be installed lower at approximately five feet from the floor and on each level of the home.

Tri-County Inspections provides home inspections to the Greater Charlotte area. Contact us to schedule your appointment.