Installing a home fire alarm system is one of the best ways to avoid a potential fire tragedy. Approximately four out of ten home fire deaths in 2009 occurred in homes that didn't have smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Home fires killed 2,565 people in 2009.
Installing a standard home fire alarm system is a relatively easy DIY project. It can protect against fire tragedies and help save valuable assets. A fire alarm system will not only alert you to the danger of fire, it will also alert and automatically dispatch appropriate authorities, if connected to a home security system.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Home fire alarm system
- Ladder/step stool
Select locations for your fire alarms. Picking the right location is particularly important. For maximum coverage, the alarms should be placed in different areas of the house: in every bedroom, in a central area near each bedroom and on each level of the home, including the basement and attic. Multiple alarms that are not connected to each other constitute a system.
An alarm should be mounted on the ceiling four inches away from the wall; wall mounted alarms should be located 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling. The alarm should be placed high on the wall and away from stoves and fireplaces to avoid false alarms. Locate it away from ceiling fans and windows to prevent moving air from reaching the alarm.
Use a ladder or a step stool and mark the spot on the wall or ceiling where the fire alarm will be located. Hold the alarm's mounting bracket and mark the holes in the ring with a pencil to indicate where the alarm will be placed.
Drill two small holes in the marked places. Install the bracket using the screws provided.
Install the alarm on the mount. Use a flashlight if you cannot see clearly. Twist the alarm into the bracket. Wiggle the alarm to check that it is secure. If it is loose, the bracket and alarm must be re-tightened.
Open the alarm's battery compartment. A ribbon is located in the battery compartment. Lay it across the back of the alarm. Attach the battery over the ribbon. Place the ribbon across the battery and reattach the battery compartment.
Test the fire alarm by pressing the test button on the alarm. If the test button beeps when pressed, the unit is functioning properly.
Tips and warnings
- Use smoke alarms in conjuction with fire alarms. Smoke alarms detect the presence of smoke; fire alarms detect the presence of heat.
- For maximum protection, connect your fire alarms to a home security alarm monitoring system that will alert authorities in the case of fire. This often requires installation by a professional, because of the wiring.
- Test fire alarms every month to ensure effectiveness.
- Replace batteries once a year.
- Replace the home fire alarm every 10 years.
- Have a home fire safety plan for maximum effectiveness.
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