Pro Tip: Smoke Alarm Safety


Our pro tip of the month is about Smoke Alarm Safety. We recently interviewed Frank Webb, Licensed Electrician and owner of Energy Electric Company. We asked Webb where smoke alarms should be placed.


Place smoke alarms:

- in all sleeping rooms

- outside each separate dwelling unit sleeping area, within 21 feet of any door to a separate sleeping room, with the distance measured along the path of travel;

- every level of a dwelling, including basements and finished attics;

- also a carbon dioxide detector required per floor, can be a combination CO/smoke detector in place of just smoke detector for each level.


Are there places smoke alarms are not recommended?

Do not place smoke alarms:

- kitchens;

- garages;

- furnace rooms;

- keep at least 20 feet from sources of combustion particles, i.e. gas stove, gas furnace, gas water heater, gas space heater;

- damp, humid or steamy areas, or near bathroom showers;

- within 3 feet of supply vents, return vents, ceiling fans.


How often should smoke alarms be replaced?

- 10 years from date of purchase;

- batteries once a year or when unit "chirps" once a minute.


Are there any new code requirements when building or remodeling a space?

- new construction dwelling units to be hardwired together and have battery backup.


Webb added that most fire departments will do a fire safety survey and make recommendations.


Webb has 47 years of experience as an electrician and has been in business for 25 years. Energy Electric Company specializes in Residential and Commercial installation and repair throughout Eastern North Carolina. He can be contacted at (252) 717-2187 or by email at