You would think the best smoke detector locations are in sleeping locations – but you would be wrong.
The best place for a smoke detector or smoke alarms is in every individual room of your house.
This is a safety first approach, and best practice for alerting you to a fire at the earliest available opportunity.
However, most people opt not to do this for a variety of reasons, the main ones being cost and aesthetics.
Fire services across the UK do recommend at least one smoke detector on every level of your home, including basements and lofts, and best practice is to place them in hallways or landings outside of sleeping areas.
However, there is one major problem with standard fire or smoke detectors…
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Standard Smoke Alarms & Detectors – The Problem
The bog standard smoke alarm or smoke detector was an excellent invention many, many years ago. They are still hugely important in millions of homes across the UK, but there is one major drawback of these smoke alarms.
That drawback is that they don’t talk to each other.
You could be asleep in your bedroom at the front of your house, while a fire breaks out in the kitchen at the back of the house. Because of various factors, like distance, how big your house is, thickness of doors and walls and how deep your sleep is, you may not hear the initial alarm that is activated in your kitchen because of how a smoke detector works.
A standard smoke detector will sound an alarm when that specific detector detects smoke. It will not set off any other smoke detectors, until each individual detectors detects smoke – and by that time, it could be too late.
Imagine if there was a safer smoke detector – imagine if there was a smoke detector that simultaneously activated all detectors within a house if just one detector was activated.
The Solution – Linked Smoke Detectors
The simple solution is to invest in the latest technology – the safest option for you and your family.
A linked smoke detector will sound an audible alarm when any other linked detector detects smoke and/or heat.
In fact, if you are in Scotland, it is written into Scottish Law that homes should have linked smoke detectors and heat detectors.
They use radio waves to communicate with each other – so if your kitchen smoke detector goes off in the middle of the night, all other alarms will also sound, warning you of a potential fire somewhere else in your house.
We go through why you should use a linked system in this article right here.
Best Smoke Detector Locations
The best smoke detector locations in your house are:
- In hallways and landings that lead to escape routes.
- Near to sleeping locations.
- In rooms you spend the most time in.
- In your loft.
But what about the kitchen?
Of course the biggest problem for smoke detectors in the kitchen is the obvious – sometimes cooking produces smoke and vapours that set off an annoying false alarm.
Yet, a large percentage of fires start in the kitchen, so how do we get around this?
The answer is a heat detector. A heat detector will register rapid rises in temperature and will trigger on reaching a certain threshold.
So the best advice is to place a heat detector in the kitchen, but slightly away from things like cookers and ovens to avoid false alarms. As an added fire safety measure, some people opt to have small fire extinguishers in the kitchen, so any immediate fire in their presence can be dealt with quickly.
It’s also advised to invest in a linked system of smoke detectors, because these will give early warnings and potentially give you extra time to get out of the house in the event of a fire breaking out in another part of the house.
Here’s a great graphic of where you should install your smoke detectors and heat detectors:
Vital Place For A Smoke Detector
There’s actually two vital places that we want to share with you.
First location: Wherever your RCD unit (fuse box) is located, place a smoke alarm near it.
This is one of the most important smoke detector locations that you should not forget.
It’s common in the UK for the RCD Unit to be placed under the stairs, near to the front door or in an integrated garage, so these locations should not be forgotten.
It’s worth pointing out that these units are actually meant to protect from dangers such as electrocution and fires, but older units in older properties should be looked at by a qualified electrician. If in doubt, get a new RCD unit installed by a qualified electrician.
The second vital place you should place a smoke detector?
Especially if it is used for storage and it’s simply boarded over.
All of your upstairs lighting wiring runs across the joists in your loft, so there is a small hazard there. But the big risk here is huge. If a fire does start in your loft, you’ve got flammable materials stored up there (most people have old books, old clothes etc stored in boxes up there), combined with the fact that smoke rises.
Add in the further fact that a loft is really well sealed off from the rest of the house, then it’s unlikely that the smoke will seep through the loft hatch and set off the detector that you’ve hopefully got installed on the landing outside of your sleeping areas, until its well and truly alight.
In fact, the first time you will be aware of a fire in your loft is when you hear the fire destroying whatever is in the loft, and there has been thousands of instances across the UK where a fire in the loft has caused a complete roof collapse.
So please, do consider installing smoke detectors near to your electrical consumer unit, and in your loft.
In summary, the best smoke detector locations for your home are a minimum of one on each level of your home. If you go for the minimum, they should be placed outside of sleeping areas as a priority (landing areas), as well as hallways which often act as escape routes to access front or back doors.
Ideally, a smoke detector should be placed in each room. And ideally, they should be linked detectors, because this is the best and most advanced early warning system you can have in your home.
And of course, smoke detectors are not suitable for kitchens.
A kitchen should have a heat detector.
Questions & Comments
Leave me a comment below and tell me how many smoke detectors or similar devices you have in your house, and tell me where you think the best smoke detector locations are in your house – and why.
I’m interested in hearing your setup and your thoughts!
Stay Safe. Stay Secure.