Where should smoke alarms NOT be placed? Do you have a clear understanding of this safety concern? You need to understand where you need to install smoke alarms, and which places or areas you should avoid. This applies to homeowners, tenants, and landlords.

Safety should be a top priority in any domestic dwelling.

As such, you need to ensure that you place smoke alarms correctly throughout your home. It is not just about you meeting regulatory requirements for the sake of it. You need to remember that those regulations are there for a reason.

If you place a smoke alarm incorrectly, you could be putting people’s lives at risk.

If you select the incorrect position for a smoke alarm, there are serious consequences. In some cases, smoke will not reach the sensor. In other cases, home appliances and devices might affect the efficacy of the smoke alarm sensor. You could be unwittingly compromising the safety of your family or tenants in the event of a house fire.

The authorities have put new regulations in place to avoid this. Therefore, all Australian homeowners and landlords need to stay informed. Fortunately, if you follow the relevant regulations, your property should have effective protection in the form of smoke detectors. If you employ someone to install your smoke detectors, make sure you hire a professional and qualified installation team.

Where should smoke alarms NOT be placed?

Dead Air Space

When you install smoke alarms, avoid placing any smoke detectors in dead air space. A dead air space in your home is any space where there is no air circulation. Air becomes trapped in these spaces and prevents smoke from reaching smoke alarms. Examples of dead air spaces include ceiling and wall corners, and the apex of a cathedral ceiling.

Asbestos materials

We recommend installing working smoke alarms on surfaces that do not contain asbestos. Although we always recommend that you should place smoke alarms on ceilings, you should avoid this if the ceiling contains asbestos. Instead, you would need to consider a wall that does not contain any asbestos materials.

Home devices

Lights, fans, and air-conditioning vents can potentially interfere with the sensors on smoke detectors. This could either result in constant false alarms, or decrease the efficacy of the sensor. Therefore, the minimum requirements state that you should install smoke alarms at least 300mm away from light fittings, and 400mm away from air conditioning vents and ceiling fan blades.


You should place smoke detectors in areas that minimise exposure to steam and fumes. Fumes and the like are likely to set off false alarms. Therefore, you should not place smoke detectors in bathrooms or very close to bathroom doors where they might come into contact with steam. Similarly, you should avoid installing smoke alarms close to cooking appliances that produce steam, fumes, and potentially smoke.

What are the latest smoke alarm regulatory requirements?

Legally, you are required to install a smoke alarm in each sleeping area (i.e. any room where people sleep), all passages connecting these rooms. You also need to install at least one smoke alarm on each level of the home, even if there are no bedrooms on that floor. You need to position these additional smoke alarms along the most likely path of exit in the event of a house fire. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing any smoke alarm.

Remember to only purchase smoke alarms that comply with the latest regulatory requirements

You can find legally compliant smoke alarms here. Although our smoke alarms are easy to install yourself, we also offer affordable installation services by qualified electricians. And if you ask them “Where should smoke alarms NOT be placed?” they will provide your with an accurate answer!