Mistakes People Make
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Mistakes People Make

When Positioning Smoke Alarms

The days of a single cheap, battery powered smoke alarm is no longer enough

Most houses are now obliged to have alarms hard wired so that there aren’t any issues with flat batteries. These days it’s recommended that houses have alarms in every bedroom and on every floor, but what sort and where exactly?

Smoke Alarm Flatlay
Woman installing smoke alarm

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Where to Install

Dead Air Space

Nuisance alarms can be a pain, but the real problem is the smoke alarm that doesn’t go off because it’s in the wrong spot. Putting alarms in ‘dead air space’ means that smoke doesn’t reach them until it’s too late and they simply can’t do their job of alerting you to a fire. Dead air space refers to areas that trap hot air, preventing smoke reaching the alarm.

It’s why you always see alarms positioned away from the corner where the ceiling meets the wall. That’s a dead air space and so is the apex of cathedral ceilings. Essentially you shouldn’t hide smoke alarms in corners – they have to be out and proud. Exposed beams create corners as well. The rule is to place alarms at least 300mm from corners.

Blowing in the Wind

Areas prone to excessive air movement near windows, fans and air conditioning vents are also no good because the smoke may be blown away.

'Smoke Alarm Flatlay


The guideline in this case is that you shouldn’t put alarms within 400mm of air conditioning vents or the blades of a ceiling fan, however we recommend 1m if possible.

AFDD Flatlay
AFDD flatlay

Learn more about Arc Fault Detection Devices

For protection against electrical fires

Big thanks to founder David Ellingsen from Metropolitan Electrical Contractors.

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