Smoke Alarm Installation: DIY Or An Electrician Project?


Many lives have been saved by smoke alarms in the past. This has become a very important safety feature in many homes with different types being sold in the market. As a homeowner, it is your duty to find the type that is suitable to your home. Your purchase should include a guide on how to go about with smoke alarm installation.

Which Is Best?

There are two chief types of smoke detectors – the ionization smoke alarms and the photoelectric smoke alarms. The first type is often better at detecting flames. If you live in a wooden house, for instance, where combustible furnishings are common, then you should purchase this kind of alarm.

Photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting smoke; so if you live in a house where fire is most likely to smoke first, then this alarm should be your first option.

Both of these alarms can be operated using batteries or can be powered by the mains.

Battery-powered smoke alarms should have batteries replaced annually. These come with built-in power warnings which can give off regular beeps when the power cells are already running low. To have one installed in your home is sure to give you peace of mind. While it may be expensive to install, it well worth your investment since you won’t have to worry about fire causing property damage, or worse, death in your family.

There are models that can be interconnected so that they all sound the moment that one of them is triggered. Smoke alarm installation is especially useful in certain areas of your home such as the kitchen. Kitchen alarms can be programmed not to go off on mere detection of smoke or heat but only when a huge fire begins. There are also some models that were built with emergency light which is quite useful once the house fills with smoke during fire.

Fitting the Smoke Alarm

Always remember that smoke rises which is why the best location for smoke alarms is on the ceiling. Situating them high on the walls is also preferable. Be sure to install alarms in neighboring bedrooms so that you will surely be awakened should the fire begin at during ungodly hours.

Just to have an added peace of mind, have an alarm installed in the hallway. Never mount an alarm next to an exterior door or a window since the smoke could escape before it even reaches the alarm.

Attaching a smoke alarm to the plaster wall is as easy as having it screwed onto the walls. Make sure the walls are solid as you use your drill and drill bit. The installation guide should tell you the size of the screws that should be used. 

Installation in a Jiff

  • Find a spot between 100 millimeters and 300 millimeters from where the wall and the ceiling meet.
  • Get the alarm base plate as you ascend the ladder then use that as a template in marking the spot where the screws are supposed to be driven in. Drill holes if you have to.
  • Test the alarm by first removing the cover, inserting the batteries then pressing the test button.
  • Finally, have the alarm base plate permanently screwed. Have the batteries replaced (on an annual basis) then place the cover.

These days, it is important to have smoke detectors hardwired to the mains while having battery backup at the same time. Ask local authorities about the requirements such as a dedicated circuit. If this is not required, just make sure that your smoke detector was not tapped onto the wall switch or installed in a circuit. It also isn’t a good idea to install smoke alarms on GFCI protected electrical circuits.

Smoke alarm installation is easy but if you are not certain about what you actually need to do, then it is best to hire an electrician.

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