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Smoke detectors should be placed near bedrooms either on the ceiling at least 6 to 12 inches away from the wall or on the wall, 6 to 12 inches down from the ceiling. This allows the detector to sense the smoke as it approaches the sleeping area.
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Both battery-powered and house current powered smoke detectors do a good job. Make sure the one you choose has been tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
There should be at least one detector in every occupied bedroom and one on every floor of the house except attics unless the attic space is used for sleeping. Additional detectors will increase the chance of early detection.
Battery operated detectors can be attached directly to the ceiling or wall. Wired-in electric detectors are somewhat more difficult to install and may require an electrician.