How Many Smoke Alarms Do I Need in My House?

2016 Nov 16
Posted in: Electrical

Having the right number of smoke alarms in your home isn’t just a safety measure, it’s the law.

In fact, Arizona follows the 2006 International Fire Code (IFC) with amendments when it comes to this question.

So what’s the answer? Well, for the most part, the number of smoke detectors you need depends on how many bedrooms and stories you have in your home.

Smoke Alarm Home Placement
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We’ll explain in more detail below.

One in every bedroom

A smoke alarm is legally required in every bedroom of the house or any room that’s used for sleeping.

That’s pretty straightforward. But where should those alarms be placed inside each bedroom? 

Well, we suggest you make sure your alarms follow these placement guidelines:

  • They should be placed directly inside the entrance of the room
  • If placed on the wall, they should be placed at most 1 foot from the ceiling
  • If placed on the ceiling, the should be at least 4 inches from a wall/corner 
  • Don’t place them near AC vents or windows

Bedroom Smoke Alarm Placement
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One additional alarm outside any sleeping area

According to the 2006 IFC, an additional alarm should be placed “on the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms.”

Translation?

Let’s say you have 3 bedrooms on the second floor of your home. You’d of course need an alarm inside each bedroom but you’d also need one on a wall directly outside of those bedrooms. Have a single bedroom downstairs? You’d need an alarm inside that room as well as one directly outside that bedroom.

At least one on every story, including basements

If your home has several stories, you need to make sure that at least one smoke alarm is placed on every story (not including crawl spaces or uninhabitable attics). 

Additional laws to follow regarding your smoke alarms

  • If your home was built after 1988, the alarms must be hard-wired into the home’s electrical system and have a backup battery in case your home loses power.
  • If your home was built before 1988, you’re allowed to have battery-powered alarms but when those batteries fail (usually after 10 years) you must completely replace them with hard-wired alarms.
  • When the alarm sounds, the volume should be heard in all bedrooms, even over any background levels, regardless of whether the doors are closed.
  • Smoke alarms should make chirping/beeping noises to let you know when the batteries are low.

Have concerns about your home’s smoke alarms? Ask an AZ electrician

Not sure if your home’s smoke alarm situation is up to code? We’re here to help.

Just contact us and we’ll send over an electrician who can inspect everything and make any needed changes.

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