How to Install a Fire Alarm System and Carbon Monoxide Detector

How to Install a Fire Alarm System and Carbon Monoxide Detector

House fires can start and spread quickly. Keep your family safe by learning to correctly install and maintain a fire alarm system. A properly installed CO detector will protect your loved ones from dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Just a little bit of planning can make a big difference for your family. See below for instructions on how to install a fire alarm system and a CO detector.

First, it’s essential to have the right quantity of correctly positioned smoke alarms per your home’s square footage. Your fire alarm system or smoke alarms should be placed:

  • One in each bedroom
  • Outside each separate sleeping area
  • On every level of your home (including the basement)
  • On non-bedroom levels install the smoke alarm in the living area, or near the stairs that lead to the upper level
  • In large homes, more alarms may be needed

Check your local city codes for the number of alarms recommended for your home.

To install a fire alarm system or smoke alarm you’ll need:

  • Hammer
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Step ladder
  • Fire alarm system (smoke alarm)
  • AA or 9 volt batteries (according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your alarm)
Choosing the Right Location

Do not place your fire alarm system near a location that may produce significant heat or humidity such as above a stovetop, near a clothes dryer or in a bathroom.

Because smoke rises, the best spot for an alarm is on the ceiling, roughly 4-inches away from the wall. Keep away from corners as they contain dead air pockets which prevent smoke from easily reaching the alarm. For vaulted ceilings, install the alarm a minimum of 4-inches from the peak.

fire alarm system

Installing a Fire Alarm

Fire alarms usually come with a plastic or metal mounting plate or base. The base has key-shaped screw holes used to attach the alarm to the ceiling or wall.

  1. Choose a drill bit slightly smaller than the wall anchors to make sure the alarm fits snug to the wall or ceiling.
  2. Hold the mounting base to the chosen location and mark the screw holes with a pencil.
  3. Drill holes at the pencil marks.
  4. Hammer the plastic screw anchors into the holes.
  5. With a drill and the supplied screws, drive the screws halfway into the ceiling or wall, lining up the mounting base.
  6. Place the alarm in position, over the mounting base. Tighten the screws to attach the alarm to the base.

To increase safety, interconnect all alarms by hard-wiring them into your home’s electrical system, or use wireless technology. When one alarm detects smoke they’ll all sound, alerting your family.

Maintaining Your Fire Alarm System

Test your alarm monthly by pushing the button on the housing. The alarm should sound.

Replace the batteries twice a year even if you hear no warning beeps. If your model requires a lithium ion battery, you’ll need to change the batteries only once every 10 years.

Once a year, use a vacuum attachment to clean your alarm, removing any particles or dust that may have accumulated near or inside the housing.

Check the manufacturer’s instructions for an expiration date. Replace the alarm if needed.

fire alarm system

Installing a CO Detector

Carbon monoxide gas is called the ‘silent’ killer. It is odorless, colorless, and virtually undetectable. That’s why it’s so important to install a CO detector in every level of your home, including the basement. Check with your local city codes for the number of detectors required for your home.

What you’ll need:
  •  Hammer
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Step ladder
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • AA or 9 volt batteries (according to the manufacturer’s instructions for your alarm)
Choosing the Right Location

Install the carbon monoxide detector on a wall, a few feet down from the ceiling. Also read the manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement.

Instructions for Wall-mounted CO Detector Installation

CO detectors usually come with a mounting base which is separate from the detector housing.

  1. Choose a drill bit a little smaller than the supplied plastic wall anchors to ensure a secure fit.
  2. Drill holes at the marked locations.
  3. With a hammer, drive the screw anchors into the holes.
  4. Drive the provided screws halfway into the wall while lining up the mounting base.
  5. If your CO detector is battery-operated, install the batteries.
  6. Hold and turn the detector, placing it into position under the screws.
  7. Tighten with a screwdriver to mount the alarm to the base.
Maintaining Your CO Detector

Test your detector monthly by pushing the button on the housing. The alarm should sound.

Replace the batteries twice a year, even if you hear no warning beeps. If your model requires a lithium ion battery you’ll need to change the batteries only once, approximately every 10 years.

Once a year use a vacuum attachment to clean your detector, removing any particles or dust that may have accumulated. Also check the manufacturer’s instructions for an expiration date and replace the detector if required.

Keep your family safe by installing a fire alarm system and carbon monoxide detectors. You’ll be alerted of fires and carbon monoxide leaks as soon as they occur, so you can take the right precautions to ensure your family’s safety and prevent further damage to your home. Detecting these problems at the start also means the fire department will have more time to respond.

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These useful tips and hints will help you install a fire alarm correctly in your home!

 

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