Where should Smoke/CO detectors be placed?

Where Should I Place a Smoke Detector?

According to the NFPA:

Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.  The NFPA also recommends interconnection of alarms to provide better whole-home protection.

Where Should I Place a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

According to the EPA:

UPDATE:  The EPA used to recommend installing CO detectors 5′ or higher from the floor, but it seems that now they recommend just following the manufacturer’s specifications.  Most manufacturers recommend installing the units at least 6″ from the floor.  The EPA recommends at least one CO detector in every home whether or not there are garages or gas appliances.  A CO detector is recommended on each floor – near the sleeping areas.

Older guidance:

The detector may be placed on the ceiling. Do not place the detector right next to or over a fireplace or flame-producing appliance. Keep the detector out of the way of pets and children. Each floor needs a separate detector. If you are getting a single carbon monoxide detector, place it near the sleeping area and make certain the alarm is loud enough to wake you up.

According to a manufacturer (Kidde):

At a minimum, industry experts recommend a CO alarm be installed on each level of the home — ideally on any level with fuel burning appliances and outside of sleeping areas (halls).  Additional CO alarms are recommended 5-20 feet from sources of CO such as a furnace, water heater or fireplace.  Choose locations free of obstructions, where the alarm will stay clean and protected from adverse environmental conditions.  Do not place the unit in dead air spaces (like closets) or next to a window or door.


Carbon Monoxide detectors should also be placed in a finished/heated area near or over a garage.

Where Should I NOT Place Detectors?

According to most manufacturers, smoke/CO detectors should not be placed in crawl spaces, unfinished basements, and other unheated areas (like porches and garages) because the detectors may behave erratically during extreme temperatures.

Also read: Which type of Smoke/CO detector is best?

Where Should I Place Fire Extinguishers?

According to the NFPA:

Residential:  Fire extinguishers are not required in one and two family dwellings.

For multi-family and commercial:  See this resource by the NFPA

According to a Manufacturer (Kidde):

Step 1:  Choose Primary Fire Extinguishers (Must Have)
For your main home protection install a 2-A:10-B-C rated extinguisher on every level of your home- no more than 40 feet apart.  This could include locations such as living areas, garages, and workshops.

Step 2: Choose Supplementary Fire Extinguishers (Should Have)
The kitchen is the likeliest place you will have a fire.  Protect special locations in your home with a UL rated fire extinguisher.

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