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How Many Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do You Need?

Prevent Injury and Death with Detectors

The risk of death in a house fire is 55% lower when a functioning smoke detector is in place. On the carbon monoxide front, a functioning device is an absolute way to prevent the more than 400 deaths and 50,000 ER visits that occurred in the US last year. While both of these detection devices are widely used, it’s often difficult for consumers to know how many they need and where to put these devices.

Smoke Detectors

  1. The best rule of thumb is to make sure there is a smoke detector in every bedroom of a house or apartment.
  2. In addition to the bedroom placements, it is ideal to have detectors outside of sleeping areas. For example, if you have 2 bedrooms on a second story you would want a smoke detector in the space outside of the bedroom.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  1. Some states have legal requirements on a set number of detectors required in a home but the minimum threshold for detectors is one per level of the home.
  2. If your home has direct access to a garage make sure a detector is placed near that entry point.
  3. Similar to smoke detectors, it is a best practice to have a device located near or in each bedroom.


Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are a must in every home. Key living and sleeping areas are the key coverage points. Avoid placing devices in areas with fuel-burning appliances or rooms with heavy humidity as they are prone to trigger false alarms. There are many companies that produce combo alarms that detect both CO2 and smoke which is a convenient solution for many homeowners. Once you have your detector mix correct, don’t forget to test them on a monthly basis and change batteries frequently.