Smoke Alarms

The Ontario Fire Code requires that all homes have a working smoke alarm installed:

  • on every floor level
  • outside all sleeping areas

This applies to all single family, semi-detached and town homes, whether owner occupied or rented.

Smoke alarm maintenance

Here are a few things to consider when maintaining your smoke alarm:

  • Never remove batteries from smoke alarms. If false alarms are a problem, try moving the alarm to another location or purchase an alarm with a pause feature that temporarily silences the alarm.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • Test smoke alarms once a month and replace the batteries every year.
  • Clean your smoke alarms often by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ensure that all members of your household know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Develop a home fire escape plan and practice it.

Where to install smoke alarms

Here are a few things to consider when installing your smoke alarm:

  • If anyone in the household sleeps with the bedroom door closed, consider installing a smoke alarm inside the bedroom.
  • On floor levels not containing sleeping areas, install smoke alarms in the living area or at stairwells leading to an upper floor.
  • Do not install smoke alarms in areas of cold temperatures or high heat (see manufacturer’s recommendations).
  • Do not install smoke alarms closer than 1 m or 3’ to kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Install smoke alarms high on a wall or on the ceiling. If mounting on a wall, position the top of the smoke alarm approximately 10 - 30 cm (4” to 12”) from the ceiling. If mounting on the ceiling, position the alarm at least 10 cm (4”) away from a wall.
  • Do not install smoke alarms near vents where air movement may prevent the alarm from working.

When installing smoke alarms, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.