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Protect Your Home With a Smart Smoke Detector

Nov 13, 2023|

You don’t have to be a big techie to have used smart home devices like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart thermostats, or Apple HomeKit. These make life easier in many ways, but did you know smart devices can also keep you safe from a fire? Smart smoke detectors do more than just make a loud noise when there's smoke; they can send messages to your phone to let you know something's wrong, even when you're not at home.

In this article, we'll talk about why having a smart smoke detector is important for keeping your home and loved ones safe from house fires. We will go over the best places to put these alarms and the cool features that make smart smoke detectors better than old-fashioned ones.

Read on to learn how a smart smoke detector can help keep your home and family safe, and why getting one is a smart choice for fire safety.

Vivint CO and Smoke Detector.

Why you need a smart smoke detector

Home fires large and small can be devastating. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires cause $7.2 billion in U.S. property damage, three-quarters of civilian fire deaths, and over 11,000 injuries each year. No matter how diligently you follow home fire safety best practices and prevention measures, you may not be able to stop a home fire from happening.

What you can do, though, is detect a fire before it spreads—and the best way to do that is with a smart smoke detector.

How smart smoke detectors work

Despite your best efforts, a fire disaster may still strike. Vivint has you covered with our combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector. This battery-powered, Wi-Fi-enabled smoke detector and CO alarm is fast, accurate, and does more than your average smoke alarm. Since it connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network, it can not only ring alarm bells in the event of a fire, but also send real-time notifications to your iPhone, Android, or other smartphone. It’s also capable of detecting a fire faster than other detectors.

Its photoelectric sensors detect excessive heat as well as smoke meaning you are alerted about undetected fires before you smell any smoke. Basic smoke alarms, on the other hand, use ionization sensors, which can take longer to identify smoldering fires. Vivint’s Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector also doubles as a carbon monoxide alarm, offering the added benefit of detecting deadly, odorless carbon monoxide for even more protection.

Plus, your Vivint system’s automation features include shutting down your home’s HVAC system anytime a smoke alarm is triggered to prevent fast-burning flames from spreading. The Vivint Smoke and CO Detector continues to work and communicate with Vivint during power outages and can interconnect with your home’s existing smart systems.

Where to place smart smoke detectors in your home

A smart smoke detector gives you the first alert to any signs of a fire, giving you and local authorities a heads up in time to stop it in its tracks. It's important to put them in the right places so they can do their job well. In this section, we'll show you the best places to install them throughout your home.

On every level of your home

Don’t forget about basements and attics, which should also have smoke detectors. Even in these less-often-used spaces, interconnected alarms are a boon, sounding the alert house-wide to a potential fire. Position the detectors in places free of drafts and extreme temperatures to minimize false alarms while maximizing their fire detection capability.

In the living room

The living room is often home to a variety of electronics, heating devices, or perhaps a fireplace. While these elements make the space comfy and entertaining, they also introduce potential fire hazards, making a smoke detector essential here. Position it in a way that covers the entire room, and away from fireplaces or heating devices to prevent false alarms.

dog on couch with fireplace in the background

Inside bedrooms

Having smoke detectors in bedrooms is crucial when alerting sleeping occupants to a fire. Because smoke rises, place detectors on ceilings or high on walls. Be sure to put one in every bedroom to ensure everyone gets an early warning, granting precious seconds to respond if there’s a fire.


Hallways outside sleeping areas are also strategic smoke detector points, as they can detect smoke as it threatens to travel from one room to another. Interconnected safety alarms are a plus, as they make sure that an alert in one section of the home gets communicated throughout, ramping up safety.


These transit points within your home could either be a safe exit route or a dangerous trap in the event of a home fire. Having a smoke detector near the top of a staircase can provide early warnings, as smoke rises and collects at higher points first. This way, you’ll be alerted in time to evacuate safely before stairways become engulfed in smoke or fire.


Many garages store flammable liquids and other fire-prone items, which is why placing a smoke detector near the interior door leading to the garage is a wise choice. Vivint’s combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector is the best choice for this location in particular, since it detects carbon monoxide that can come from car exhaust (among other sources).

In or near the kitchen

Cooking is the number one cause of home fires. Fires that start in the kitchen can spread quickly to other parts of your home, resulting in devastating property and personal loss. So, be sure to put a smoke alarm in your kitchen so you can detect and respond to a fire before it spreads to other parts of your home.

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Where NOT to install a smoke detector

When choosing where to install smoke detectors (whether they’re “smart” or just a run-of-the-mill model), avoid areas near air vents, fans, or windows. Drafts could make it harder for them to detect the first signs of smoke, or trigger false alarms interfere with their operation, potentially delaying the detection of smoke. High humidity areas like bathrooms or laundry rooms are also not ideal as the moisture can trigger false alarms or damage the detector over time.

Ceiling vs. wall mounting

Mounting smoke detectors on the ceiling is typically the better choice, since smoke rises. However, if wall mounting is your only option, place them high on the wall, ideally 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling.

For homes with high or cathedral ceilings, placement gets a bit tricky as smoke may not reach a detector placed at the highest point quickly enough to alert you to a fire in time to respond. In such cases, avoid placing the detector at the apex of the ceiling; instead, install it on the sloped portion at least four inches from the highest point. This placement ensures better smoke detection while maintaining a sleek appearance.

How to choose the best smart smoke detector

Make sure your smoke detector is compatible with your other smart home systems, and can send you notifications and alert first responders as needed. This gives you peace of mind knowing your home is under constant surveillance against fire hazards.

You might want a smart smoke detector that can alert you to a fire using a high-decibel alarm or voice alert. While the loud, high-pitched sound of a smoke alarm might be the best option for some people, others might get the message more clearly if it’s accompanied by a voice telling them what’s going on.

If you want smart smoke alarms that can hardwire into your home’s electrical system, make sure it uses a backup battery. This means it can continue to operate in the event of a power outage. As far as the type of sensor you choose, ionization sensors will detect a fire more quickly than photoelectric sensors, but dual-sensor devices are also available.

Compatibility is also important, so make sure your smoke detector has smart features and functionality that works with your home’s other devices, like your smart thermostat, smart lights, and smart garage door. This way, you can program a smart home security system like Vivint’s Smart Hub or Google Nest Protect to unlock doors when your smoke alarm goes off so everyone can get out of the house in time to escape a burning fire.

Vivint’s smart home systems can even integrate with smart home hub programs like Google Home, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Amazon Echo, which you can control using voice commands.

Home fire prevention tips

The best solution for a house fire is prevention. Here are some tips to keep your home safe from fire-related injury and property damage:

  • Ensure all your battery-operated smoke alarms are working and have a lithium battery installed—ideally one with the longest available battery life (such as 10-year batteries), and always have backup batteries on hand. If an alarm starts to chirp, that means it has a low battery, and it’s time to change the battery.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it.
  • Never leave cooking unattended and don’t wear loose-fitting clothing while cooking.
  • Contain hot grease by using a splattering screen/grease catcher.
  • Do not throw water on a grease fire; smother the flames with a lid instead.
  • Keep your cooking area free of flammable items.
  • Always double check to ensure your stove and oven are turned off after cooking.
  • If you can’t quickly control a fire, get out, close the door behind you to slow the spread of flames, and call 911.

Install a Vivint Smoke and CO Detector today

Don’t wait for disaster to strike to take the necessary steps to protect your home and loved ones. Invest in yours and their safety with Vivint’s combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector.

Looking for more ways to keep your home safe? Find out how else Vivint’s smart home technology can help, with a handy app that lets you control your home from anywhere. We’re making life safer and more manageable, one home at a time.

Give us a call at 855.822.1220 for a free consultation today.

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