Where To Install Smoke Detector In Bedroom With A Ceiling Fan?


Thinking of buying a new smoke detector for your bedroom? That’s a great idea, a working smoke detector in your bedroom might save your life and the life of your loved ones. But maybe, you have a ceiling fan and you’re worried that it might interfere with the smoke detector and you’re wondering where you should put it to ensure it works? This is what you need to know. 

In any room with a ceiling fan, smoke detectors should be installed at least 3 feet away from the fan blades, but preferably still on the ceiling. This will help to avoid any interference with the proper function of the smoke alarm.

While this process seems straightforward, there are some things to know about installing a smoke detector to ensure it works as it should. Let’s take a look at the thing you should be aware of. Here’s what you need to know.

If you are looking for a good, firefighter-recommended smoke detector for your home, here is the one I recommend, on Amazon.

It has a 10-year battery, so there is no need to change it out every 6 months, like most.

Also read: Will Incense/Smoking/Vaping Set Off A Smoke Detector?

Will A Fan Interfere With The Operation Of The Smoke Detector?

The NFPA has run tests to examine the impact of a ceiling fan on a smoke alarm. In particular, they want to know if the airflow generated by the fan blades would interfere with the ability of the detector to find smoke in the air. 

They concluded that as long as the detector is more than 3 feet from the tips of the fan blades, that there was no evidence the fan had any impact on the smoke detector’s operation at all.

smoke detector

Though there may be a slight delay in detection and if the fan is moving at a very high speed, it may appreciably delay the detector. 

However, it’s worth noting that they didn’t find that placing the smoke detector farther way from the fan made any difference to this delay. They also noted that the delay was not sufficient to be life-threatening. 

Where Should I Install The Smoke Detector In My Bedroom?

You should always install the smoke detector away from the fan and you should position it at least 3’ away from the ends of the blades but if you have more space – that’s fine.

We would note that the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) recommends that you install at least one smoke detector on the ceiling, in most circumstances.

There are circumstances under which they recommend more than one smoke detector per room and this is particularly true if you have to mount the smoke detectors on the walls rather than on the ceiling. 

Then, in general terms, you want to install smoke alarms as high on walls or ceilings as they can be mounted. Why? Because smoke rises, so you get the best possible information from a smoke alarm when it’s high. 

There is an exception to this – if your ceiling comes to an apex, you must not install the alarm in the peak – rather keep at a minimum of 4 inches below the peak and no more than 3’ from the peak. 

If you want to be certain that you are getting the best level of protection from a smoke alarm system, then you should ensure that each alarm in your home is wired to all the others.

When one goes off, they all do – this means that no matter where you are in the building when smoke is detected, you will know about it, immediately. 

Why Do I Need To Install A Smoke Detector In My Bedroom?

According to FEMA, in 2018, 3,655 Americans died in fires, 15,200 people were injured and more than $25 billion of property was lost in these fires!

Now, we don’t want to alarm you, the truth is that over the last decades – the number of fires that result in death or injury has been trending downwards.

This is thanks to better building construction, fireproof materials, and, of course, better early warning systems such as smoke detectors and heat alarms. These allow a fire to be extinguished before it becomes a problem.

Yet, no matter how good these developments are – fires still happen, and it is likely that they will always happen too.

That means you need to protect yourself, your property, and your loved ones from the potential disaster of a fire.

One of the best ways to do this is to install smoke detectors throughout your home. This ought to ensure that you will not sleep if your home catches fire and that you can get up and get yourselves to safety and potentially even tackle the blaze if safe to do so. 

The number one threat from fires is not the flames. It’s the smoke that is full of nasty chemicals like Carbon Monoxide, which drives out oxygen and leads to suffocation.

A smoke alarm will alert you before this can happen to you. 

Also read: How Do Firefighters Check for Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

What Kind Of Smoke Detector Should I Buy?

There are two main types of smoke detectors and they are: photoelectric smoke detectors and ionization detectors and they both work in slightly different ways.

A photoelectric smoke detector is designed to measure smoke as it disperses through a large area – and can be incredibly sensitive to even the lowest levels of smoke, particularly in rooms with high ceilings.

They work by beaming light onto a sensor chamber. In normal circumstances, there is nothing to block this light and the beam is permanently unbroken.

But when smoke enters the chamber – the particles in the smoke break the light beam and thus, the sensor does not receive the light and the alarm goes off. 

An ionization smoke detector, on the other hand, has two plates between which a constant flow of charged ions is passed. This creates a current between the two plates. If smoke enters the chamber with the ions and breaks their flow, it cuts the current and the alarm sounds.

This video goes into more detail about the different types of smoke detectors and why to choose one over another:

The best kind of smoke detector for home use, however, is a dual-purpose device which incorporates both types of sensor – think of this as having built-in redundancy. 

While many types of smoke detectors are battery-operated, it’s important to note that you may be legally required to hardwire the smoke detectors in some states.

For example, in California, any home built after 1992 is required to have hardwired detectors AND a battery backup

Tips To Ensure Your Smoke Detector/Alarm Will Function Properly

Once you’ve installed a smoke detector in your bedroom, you need to ensure that it continues to work as intended.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to placement, maintenance, etc., as they will always have the best insight into the operation of the device
  • Run a test at least once a month using the test button on the device – make sure it sounds an alarm
  • Talk to your family about what they need to do if the alarm goes off – it’s much easier to prepare for a fire than to have to explain things when the house is burning down
  • Clean the alarms regularly – a build-up of dust can eventually trigger the alarm or alternatively block the entryways preventing smoke from entering the alarm’s chamber
  • If you have a 10-year battery inside that is non-replaceable, then when the “battery low” light comes on, you need to throw it out and get a new alarm
  • If the smoke alarm uses a different style of battery – replace the battery, at least, annually but if the alarm starts chirping, this is a sign that the batter is now underpowered, replace it
  • Always use the manufacturer’s recommended batteries for the best operating function of your device

Conclusion

Where to install a smoke detector in a bedroom with a ceiling fan? You need to ensure that the detector is 3 feet, minimum, from the tip of the fan blade and not near a window, door or duct that might allow the smoke to escape rather than building up as it will elsewhere. 

If you can’t do this easily in the space available, it’s OK to mount a smoke detector on your bedroom wall vertically but you will need to leave a space between the detector and the ceiling (this is detailed in the instructions for each detector and can range from 4-12 inches) for it to operate effectively. 

If you are looking for a good, firefighter-recommended smoke detector for your home, here is the one I recommend, on Amazon.

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Chase

I have been a Firefighter in Northern California since 2012 and a Paramedic since 2008. My site is dedicated to helping answer questions people have about the fire service. I am passionate about helping to share what I have learned and assisting those who are pursuing a career as a firefighter. Thanks for coming to my site!

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