Where To Place Your Smoke Alarms In Your House

Thursday 9th December 2021

Alice Redshaw

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Did you know that you’re eight times more likely to die from a fire if you don't have a working smoke alarm in your home?

These amazing little devices provide an early warning system that protects people and property in the event of a blaze.

Every home should have some – but how many, and where do you put them? Read on for our guide.

And if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a fire at your property, you should take swift action afterwards to prevent smoke and fire damage. At ICE Cleaning, we have teams of fire damage cleaners nationwide, ready to get started on restoring your home.

Why install smoke alarms?

In the year up to March 2021, 240 people died in fire-related incidents in England, of which more than three-quarters occurred in homes. The most common cause of death was “overcome by gas or smoke”.

Smoke alarms are one of the best fire preventative measures you can take. Some 91% of English homes have at least one working smoke alarm but just 25% of owners follow the recommendation to check them monthly. When did you last check yours?

Legal requirements

There’s no one law that governs smoke alarms in the UK, so the situation depends on where you live, whether you’re a landlord, and when your property was built. Here’s a quick look at just some of the key legislation.

In February 2022, Scotland will become the first UK nation to require all houses to possess interlinked smoke alarms (i.e. if an individual smoke alarm goes off, this will trigger every smoke alarm to activate). Owners and landlords will have to install them if they haven’t already.

There must be a smoke alarm in the sitting area; one in all hallways or landings; and every kitchen is required to have a heat alarm. They must be mounted on the ceiling. You also need carbon monoxide detectors in any room containing a carbon-fuelled appliance such as a boiler or fire.

Landlords in the private rented sector in England are required to place a smoke alarm on each floor of their dwelling, plus a carbon monoxide detector in rooms in which solid fuel is utilised, like a coal fire. They must also check at the beginning of every new tenancy that all alarms are working.

This will shortly be extended to homes in the English social rental sector. Similar legislation applies to other areas of the UK.

Since 1992, all new-build homes and extensions have been fitted with smoke alarms as standard, too.

However, if you are an owner-occupier of an older property in England or Wales, there’s no legal requirement to fit one. But they can save lives, protect your home from fire damage, and are cheap and easy to install, so it really is a no-brainer to get them fitted.

Where should you put smoke alarms?

If none of the above legislation applies, then the size and layout of your home determines where you should place smoke alarms. The Local Authority Building Control (LABC) has some detailed guidance, which we’ve summarised here.

  • Place a minimum of one smoke alarm on all floors in the home.
  • Mount alarms on the ceiling, as centrally as possible.
  • Place them at least 30cm from walls and light fixtures.
  • Ensure that a smoke alarm can be heard from every room in the house. 
    •  Which?adds that heavy sleepers and children might not be woken by alarms sounding in the hallway, so you should consider placing extra alarms in each bedroom. 
  • Don’t place smoke alarms in areas of the house which see extremes in temperature, or if there is likely to be excess moisture. Consider heat detectors in these rooms instead.
  • Don’t place alarms on inclined spaces over stairwells, as this might make it difficult for professionals to carry out tests on them when required.

By following this guidance, you stand the best chance of staying safe if a fire breaks out. Stay calm, get everyone out, and dial 999.

Once the blaze is out and the fire service has declared the building safe, you can contact us here at ICE Cleaning for our fire restoration service.

What type of smoke alarm should I buy?

There’s a huge variety of smoke alarms on the market – so which ones are best?

Which? has put together a handy guide to the various types of smoke alarm. They can be powered by mains electricity or batteries, and be interlinked wirelessly or not at all. They can use ionisation or optical technology to detect the smoke.

These days, some smoke alarms are smart, so will send alerts to your mobile phone when you’re away from home. And if you have a hearing impairment, you can buy alarms which give out strobe signals or vibrations instead.

Hopefully, these alarms will protect you from the worst of any fire. However, even a small blaze can cause long-term damage to your home, so read on to find out about our fire restoration service.

Contact us now

After a fire, it’s crucial to start the clean-up as quickly as possible.

Smoke contains soot particles which can be damaging to your health. It leaves behind an acidic film, seeping into your furniture and fittings and creating an unpleasant odour.

That’s why we have teams of fire damage cleaners nationwide, ready to be at your property within one hour of your call.

We’re specialists in all aspects of fire restoration: smoke and ash removal, waste collection, and smoke odour neutralisation. We’ve got the expertise, equipment and products to trace and remove all soot particles, cleaning the air you breathe and restoring your home back to a clean, safe place to live.

Contact us on enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk or 0208 066 0360 to discuss our smoke damage cleaning services.

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