How much does it cost to install a smoke detector?
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Smoke Detector Installation Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
A smoke detector is a small device that detects the presence of smoke through ionization or photoelectric systems. When the product detects smoke, an alarm sounds to notify the residents and fire department of. These devices are typically installed on the ceilings and are powered by interchangeable batteries. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), having working smoke detectors in your home reduces your chances of dying in a fire by half. NFPA recommends that each household install one smoke detector on each floor, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area.
The national average cost for installing a smoke detector is between $70 and $150, with most people paying around $112 to install a dual hardwired detector. At the low end of the spectrum, you pay around $44 for a battery-operated ionization detector. At the high end, you pay up to $398 to install a set of 3 hardwired detectors with a new base.
Smoke Detector Installation Cost
|Smoke Detector Costs|
|National average cost||$112|
Smoke Detector Cost by Type
There are three main types of smoke detectors for homes, including ionization, photoelectric or optical, and a combination of the two. While all of them are designed to help detect a house fire, each detector has its own advantages and disadvantages, with some offering an earlier warning depending on the origin of the fire. The chart below illustrates the cost associated with the three types:
|Type||Cost per unit (material only)|
|Dual detector (combination)||$20-$40|
|Photoelectric or optical||$30-$80|
Ionization Smoke Detector
Ionization smoke detectors contain electrodes that conduct an electrical current through ionized air. Smoke particles that enter the ionized air disrupt the ionization area causing the alarm to trigger. Ionization detectors sense less visible and smaller particles much sooner than photoelectric detectors. These devices are great at detecting flaming fires and are best installed in the kitchen and other areas in the home where smokey fires could occur. They are typically inexpensive and can detect particles in the air before the fire is visible. A few cons associated with these detectors is that they sometimes give false alarms for things, such as paint fumes, and can miss some types of smoke and fire. Their average cost is $10 to $25.
Dual Smoke Detector
A dual or combination system smoke detector uses both ionization and photoelectric processes. These dual devices are great for detecting not only smoke but also carbon monoxide as well. Some issues with them are that they can be more problematic and therefore there are more chances of a false alarm. You can expect to pay $20 to $40 for them.
Photoelectric Smoke Detector
Photoelectric smoke detectors use a light source, including a light sensor and light beam, to detect smoke. When smoke enters the system, the particles scatter the beam and redirect the light to hit the sensor, which triggers the alarm. These alarms are good at detecting large, smoldering, visible fire particles much faster than ionized sensors. Photoelectric devices are mostly used in residential and commercial areas. The advantages of these devices are that they can detect smoldering fires and yield fewer false alarms. While the advantages are many, they also have a few disadvantages. They take longer to detect certain types of smoke and are slightly more expensive. Their average cost is $30 to $80.
Smoke Detector Price by Feature
Smoke detectors take on the important task of keeping your family safe in a fire or presence of smoke. You want to make sure you purchase a smoke alarm with the best features to meet your needs. Technology has drastically revolutionized smoke detectors that now have a variety of fantastic features. The subsections below inform you of some of the latest and best features:
|Type by features||Cost per unit (only materials)|
|Voice alert smoke detector||$50-$125|
|Smoke detectors with lights||$50-$125|
|Smoke detectors with weather alerts||$50-$125|
|Smart smoke detector||$80-$180|
Voice Alert Smoke Detector
Some smoke detectors have a voice alert feature, which notifies you by voice alert about where the fire is within the home and informs you whether it is a fire or a carbon monoxide emergency. The alarm sounds on top of the voice alert and allows you to respond appropriately. Voice alerts are also great for informing you that your battery is getting low and needs to be replaced. Their cost is $50 to $125.
Smoke Detectors with Lights
There are smoke detectors on the market that come equipped with lights. These detectors can help individuals who are hearing impaired or deaf. The lights alert them to the emergency and the need to escape. When the alarm is triggered, a light illuminates a safe escape route for you and your family. Their cost starts around $50 and goes up to $125.
Smoke Detector with Weather Alerts
A new smoke detector feature is an alarm that is capable of delivering weather and disaster alerts to your phone, including tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and more. These detectors come with a customization option that lets you select the weather alerts you receive. Since this is a new feature, the purchase options are fewer. The cost for a unit like this is $50 to $125.
Smart Smoke Detector
Smoke detectors are a great way to warn you of a potential fire. However, they only benefit you when you are near them or at home. Smart smoke detectors solve this problem and are worth buying. These detectors send a notification to your electronic device. They provide you with an alert before triggering the alarm and allow you to quiet the alarm right from your phone. Their cost ranges between $80 and $180. They are more expensive than traditional versions but typically last longer and require little maintenance.
Smoke Detector Cost by Brand
Selecting the best smoke detector for your home is difficult because of the myriad of smoke detector brands on the market. All brands vary in price depending on the complexity, features, and the type of technology used. In the section and chart below, we list the most popular brands and describe what type of products they offer, discuss one of their featured products, and list the average cost range when buying a unit from each brand.
|Type by brand||Cost|
First Alert Smoke Detector
First Alert has been providing families with a variety of affordable, reliable, and easy to install smoke detectors since 1958. Their fire alarm products offer multiple features including hardwired, 10 year battery-operated, both photoelectric and ionization smoke detectors, as well as a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector. First Alert products average in price between $8 and $60. Some First Alert models have a mounting design that is easy to install, a side load battery compartment for quick battery replacement, and a 10-year warranty.
Nest Smoke Detector
Nest is a business that is known for its smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These smart detectors send an alert to your phone about the fire, warning you before the alarm triggers. These detectors inform you exactly where the fire is present in your home, helping you and your family escape safely. Nest smoke detectors range in price from $40 to $120. Some models offer convenient connectivity to your phone, smart detection between a concern or full-on emergency, and distinguishes between fast and slow burning fires as well as the invisible presence of CO.
X-Sense Smoke Detector
X-Sense is known for continuously innovating and delivering smarter ways to have a safer home. Their products are designed with accuracy, sensitivity, and quality to keep people safe from fires and CO poisoning. X-Sense smoke detectors range in price from $35 to $100. Some models offer a 10-year battery and sensor, a 2-in-1 accurate alarm, and a practical LED display that lets you see how much CO is in the air. The display also indicates battery life and the working status of the device.
SITERWELL Smoke Detector
Siterwell, a company established in 2010, focuses on creating various types of alarm sensors. They export items to over 66 countries and are known for their high-quality smoke alarms. Siterwell smoke detectors are reasonably priced from $15 to $60. Siterwell models have many great features. Some models include a photoelectric sensor and fire detector with low battery and fault warning for the house and bedroom.
Cost to Install a Smoke Detector
The installation of a smoke detector varies depending on the type. For a battery-powered one, the installation process is quite simple. All you have to do is find the right location for the detector, mark the placement for the backplate screws, drill the holes for the anchors, and screw the plate to the ceiling or wall. The unit itself simply twists and locks to the backplate.
For a new hardwired installation, an electrician runs the cable to the desired area and installs an outlet box with the required wires. The technician connects the wires and makes sure they are ready for connection, then installs the plate and ensures the detector functions properly.
The average cost for an electrician to install a smoke detector is between $30 and $100 per hour. It takes approximately 1 hour to install a unit. Most electricians lower the cost if you opt to have multiple units installed, saving you money in the long run. The labor involved in installing one detector takes up approximately $40 of the final cost of the project, with $40 to $70 accounting for the detector itself.
Hardwired vs Battery Smoke Detector
Smoke detectors operate using one of two types of power sources--hardwired or battery. The type of power source you select should be influenced by your reliability as a homeowner to keep them in working condition. The two types of power sources have some similarities and differences. They are compared below:
Battery Operated Smoke Detector
Battery-operated smoke detectors rely solely on batteries for power. This type is more commonly used due to their low costs and low installation fees. The detectors are simply installed by screwing their bracket into the wall or ceiling. No electrical wiring is required to complete the installation. They can be problematic because they do not interconnect and are prone to failure. They can be advantageous because they do not rely on electricity and work regardless of the power source. You can expect to pay between $10 and $35 for this type of detector, not including installation fees.
Install Hardwired Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors also come in the form of hardwired detectors linked to a power source from your electrical panel. These detectors are typically interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound. In the event of a power outage, they have a battery backup making them more reliable in a fire. Hardwired detectors require electrical wiring to complete their installation, so the cost to purchase them is a little higher. You can expect to pay between $30 and $50.
Cost to Replace Smoke Detectors
Over time, you will need to replace parts of a smoke detector or the entire unit. They should be replaced every ten years. Some common replacement parts include the batteries, CO2 sensor, and fire alarm panel. If any of these parts stop working, your unit will not run efficiently.
Sometimes replacing the whole detector is more economical than replacing separate parts. The cost of a new detector ranges between $10 and $80. A professional charges between $40 and $100 per hour based on their level of experience and the complexity of the job. It should not take longer than an hour for the replacement.
If you are replacing an existing smoke detector that is hardwired, the process is simple. First, remove the old detector and check to see if the new one uses the same plate. If so, simply plug the wires into the back of the detector and snap it onto the plate. If not, remove the old plate and install a new one. Then, plug in the detector and snap it onto the plate.
Smoke Detector Locations
The building codes in your town/state influence the exact location of each smoke detector in your home. Generally recommended locations for smoke alarm installation are inside each bedroom, outside of each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels in your home that do not have bedrooms, they should be installed in the living/family room or near the stairway to the upper level.
They should not be installed near windows, doors, or ducts, which could interfere with the smoke flow. Ceiling mounts are most recommended because smoke rises. The detector can be installed anywhere on the ceiling but should be more than 4 inches from a wall. If mounted on a wall, they should be installed no more than 12 inches from the ceiling. Ceilings that are pitched should have a unit installed within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex.
Smoke Detector vs Fire Alarm
Homeowners often used the terms “smoke detector” and “fire alarm” interchangeably. But when it comes to their functions and prices, these two devices are different.
|Hardwired smoke detector||$30-$50|
|Hardwired fire alarm||$50-$70|
A smoke detector is a device that detects the presence of smoke. It senses when smoke is present, whether it comes from the oven, a cigarette, or something else in the home. When the detector senses the smoke, it activates. It sends a signal to sound the alarm so that everyone in the building/home is notified and can escape to safety. They are often seen in smaller homes. Their average cost is $30-$50.
A fire alarm is triggered by a smoke detector to alert residents of a potential fire. The detector acts to sense the smoke and the fire alarm informs people of the presence of smoke. Sometimes a fire alarm may go off due to a faulty alarm or a beeping sound informs you a battery replacement is needed. A fire alarm is generally used in larger, commercial buildings. The average cost of a fire alarm is $50-$70.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Carbon Monoxide Detector Installation
Many people also decide to install carbon monoxide detectors at the same time. Carbon monoxide detectors are important for detecting the invisible presence of CO in your household that can be deadly if left unattended to. You can do this by installing a dual system or a separate unit. The units themselves cost between $10 and $40.
Smoke Detector Tester
You can also find smoke detectors that can be linked to your phone via an app for better control of the system and system testing. These smart detectors are great to have to ensure your system is working efficiently. Smart detectors start at around $100, and there may be additional monitoring fees.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Most smoke detectors are available today with various features. The options include a silence button or remote-control silencer, battery backup, and low-battery warning light.
- NFPA recommends that homes have both ionization and visual detection systems in place.
- Many states have laws stating where to locate smoke detectors and how many smoke detectors are required. Most require at least one per home.
- Always check the battery to make sure it is not dead before buying a new detector or other parts.
- Some fire stations install free or low-cost smoke alarms. Some programs are for anyone, while others are aimed at the elderly, households with children, or recent immigrants.
- Every state or town has specific regulations for how far smoke detectors should be spaced from one another. Generally, there should be at least one per floor, one per sleeping room, and one outside each sleeping area.
- How much do smoke detectors cost?
The average cost to install smoke detectors is $70 to $150, including installation fees.
- Who installs smoke detectors?
If wiring is required, a smoke detector needs to be installed by an electrician. If it is a simple installation job, you can install it yourself or contact the local fire department to assist with installation.
- How often do smoke detectors need to be replaced?
Smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years unless the instructions state otherwise.
- Where in the bedroom should a smoke detector be placed?
In the bedroom,m smoke detectors should be placed on the ceiling at least 4 inches from any wall. They should not be placed in front of a door, window, or vent.
- How far does a smoke detector have to be from a light?
Ideally, a smoke detector should be at least 2 inches away from a light.
- Can you mount a smoke detector vertically?
Yes, smoke detectors can be mounted vertically, but they have to be installed 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling.
- Do smoke detectors have to be hardwired?
Smoke detectors do not need to be hardwired. They can be battery-operated.
- Do heat alarms detect smoke?
Heat alarms do not detect smoke, so it is a good idea to use both a heat alarm and a smoke alarm.
- Do I need an electrician to replace hardwired smoke detectors?
Yes, you will need an electrician to replace a hardwired smoke detector as it involves the connection of some wires.