Installed Smoke Detectors

Properly installed and positioned smoke detectors can dramatically reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires. Smoke alarms can also help occupants escape in time to save valuable belongings and prevent costly damage.

The installer will drill a pilot hole for the remodeling box (which is a plastic electrical box) in your ceiling or wall. They will then trace a straight line with a drywall saw on the outline of the remodeling box.


Smoke detectors give early warnings of fire and toxins, helping people escape to safety before the flames engulf their homes. Tragically, three-fifths of home fire deaths occur in houses that do not have working smoke alarms. Having working smoke detectors is critical for keeping families safe, but they must be properly installed and positioned to work effectively.

The best locations for your smoke detectors are inside and outside each bedroom on every level of the house, including the basement. Some experts recommend installing dual-sensor smoke detectors to provide more advanced detection of both fast-burning flaming fires and smoldering, poisonous gases.

A smoke detector consists of an infrared or visible light source, a photosensor (sometimes called an optical sensor), and circuitry to measure the intensity of the received light. The detector senses and reports changes in the light intensity due to air-borne particles such as smoke and dust, which trigger an alarm when the particles reach a threshold value.

During the installation process, a professional will use a stud finder to determine where the studs are in your wall or ceiling, then cut out a square of drywall to accommodate the remodeling box in which the smoke detector is placed. The expert will then mount the box to the studs, run electrical wires from the box to your smoke detector(s) and test the device.

Some smoke detectors are self-powered by batteries, while others require hardwired power. If yours require hardwired power, the expert will install the wires in a professional manner to help reduce the risk of electrical issues. If the device is battery-powered, you should test and change the batteries every 6 months, or when the low-battery alert sounds.

Aside from the location of smoke detectors, you should also consider their type and design. Choose a photoelectric detector, which is less prone to false alarms from common cooking activities than ionization types.

If you're building a new house or remodeling your existing home, it's best to opt for hardwired, interconnected smoke detectors. This ensures that when one alarm activates, all the units will sound to let everyone know there's a fire in the building.


Some smoke detectors are powered by batteries, while others run on your home's electrical system. Those that are hardwired must be connected to your house wiring, and it's best for professional electricians to handle that type of installation. If your detectors run on your home's electricity, they won't require battery replacement and will also let you know when they're low on power with a chirping noise.

A smoke detector's main function is to detect smoke in your home, so you should mount them on your ceiling or high up on a wall. The best place is where smoke tends to settle, like a bedroom or hallway leading into a bedroom. For homes with multiple floors, it's a good idea to have smoke detectors on every level, including the basement. In fact, most states and localities have regulations requiring smoke detectors on each level, within the vicinity of all sleeping areas.

There are two basic types of smoke detectors: ionization and photoelectric. Both respond to smoke particles, but ionization detectors have small amounts of radioactive material that ionizes the air. Smoke molecules attach to the ions and change the electrical current flow, which triggers the alarm. Photoelectric detectors use a light source and photocell to detect smoke. When smoke enters, it interrupts the light source and activates the alarm.

Most detectors come with a mounting plate that can be screwed to the wall or ceiling. Some have slots that align with notches on the mounting bracket, which makes positioning it easier. It's important to install them at least 4-12 inches (12-30 centimeters) from a wall or the ceiling and away from corners, where dust might accumulate. You also don't want them too close to a vent, where moving air might interfere with the detector's operation.

If you're installing a hardwired smoke detector, it is important to turn off the power to the circuit at your breaker box before beginning work. Then, using a wire stripper, expose the harness wires that go to your system and match them with the system wires. Then, using a wire nut, connect the harness wires to the system wires and give them a tight, secure connection.


Smoke detectors are a great tool to help you and your family stay safe in the event of a home fire. However, they need to be properly installed and positioned, and maintained in order for them to work effectively. Many deaths in residential home fires are the result of smoke and toxic fume inhalation rather than burns, so working smoke alarms can make a huge difference in saving lives.

There are several different types of smoke detectors on the market, but all tested and labeled detectors offer adequate protection if they are properly installed and maintained. Most smoke detectors have either an ionization or photoelectric sensor to detect a fire. Some models use both technologies in combination to detect a fire better.

A smoke detector’s sensor will need to be cleaned from time to time. This is especially important if you live in a dusty area, or if there are pets in the house. Using a can of compressed air to clean the sensor will ensure that dust and other particles don’t interfere with its operation. Some manufacturers recommend cleaning the smoke sensor every month or so, but check your particular model’s instructions for more specific details.

Another maintenance issue to consider is the battery. Most smoke detectors use 9-volt batteries that should be changed regularly. You can test the battery by pressing on its test button. If the smoke detector chirps, the battery is low and should be replaced immediately. It’s also recommended that you replace the entire detector when it reaches 10 years of age.

It is important to place smoke detectors away from any open windows in the house, as these can trigger a false alarm. It is also best to avoid placing a smoke detector near cooking appliances, as this can cause the device to be activated by kitchen grease or other fumes. Electrician delray beach from Ampi Electric will identify the best areas to install your detectors and can perform the installations and periodic inspections to allow for maximum safety for you and your family.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs/FIRE & Life Safety Section (FLSS) encourages fire departments to educate the public about issues related to residential smoke alarms, and to work with other community groups to promote home fire safety, including home safety visit programs that include installing smoke alarms in high-risk homes. Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of deaths in a home fire by half compared to homes without them.


Smoke detectors are designed to detect smoke from a fire in its early stages, giving people enough time to escape. This early detection can be the difference between life and death, especially when a fire involves synthetic materials which burn faster than natural materials.

Smoke detection systems are not only found in homes but also schools, offices and hospitals. It is very important that these devices are tested regularly and refilled with batteries when needed. Most states and local municipalities require smoke detectors to be installed on every level of a building, as well as within close proximity of sleeping areas. 

In addition to checking for proper battery power, most smoke detectors have a test button that is pushed to perform an operational check of the unit. This should be done on a monthly basis by getting up on a chair or using a broom handle for extra reach, and pushing the button to hear the alarm sound and make sure that it is working. The use of actual smoke may temporarily reduce the effectiveness of the sensor and is not recommended by most professionals.

Most of the newer smoke detectors have features that can help reduce and even eliminate nuisance alarms. Specifically, many are capable of interconnecting with other detectors in a home or office and can trigger all of them to sound simultaneously in the event of a fire. This feature is particularly useful in hotels or apartment buildings, where the possibility of a fire can spread rapidly and is more likely to occur when residents are asleep.

A number of manufacturers offer aerosol testers that are specifically used to test the sensitivity of smoke detectors. These can be purchased for a very affordable price at most hardware or home improvement stores. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for usage, and be sure to wear ear protection when testing your detector, as these products can be very loud.

Properly installed and positioned smoke detectors can dramatically reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by home fires. Smoke alarms can also help occupants escape in time to save valuable belongings and prevent costly damage. The installer will drill a pilot hole for the remodeling box (which is a plastic electrical box) in your…