Smoke Alarms

The National Building Code and most local building codes require early-warning, fire-detecting devices in dwellings, usually a self-contained combined smoke detector and an alarm that is wired into the electrical system. The two basic types of smoke alarms are: ionization (or "products-of-combustion") and photoelectric.

Location and Installation

Smoke alarms should be located in or near each bedroom and on each storey including basements. Smoke alarms should be mounted on the ceiling or on a wall between 8 and 12 in. (200 and 300 mm) from the ceiling.

Building codes usually require smoke alarms to be permanently connected (hard-wired) to an electrical circuit. There should be no disconnect switch between the smoke alarm and the electrical service panel, and the circuit should not be connected to a wall outlet.

Where electric power is not available, battery-powered smoke alarms may be used. These units are designed to operate for at least one year, followed by a seven-day trouble signal when the battery runs down.

Only install smoke alarms which are certified as meeting building code requirements. Smoke alarms labeled by a recognized testing agency, such as the Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada, conform to acceptable standards.

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