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A combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector is one of the best ways to ensure your family’s safety. They save lives and they’re easy to install. So watch this video and learn where and how to install them in any room in your house.

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While many home improvement projects can help you save on energy costs or increase the efficiency or value of your home, nothing compares to the one project that can actually save your life … installing a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

It is estimated by the National Fire Protection Association that nearly a third of all homes in the United States are not fully protected with working smoke detectors. Furthermore, the potential for loss of life that occurs during a fire decreases by 45 percent if there is just one working smoke detector present in the house.

Since carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless poisonous gas, carbon monoxide detectors are designed to alarm you if levels of carbon monoxide in the home reach life threatening levels.

Today, you’re going to learn how to install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector like the one you see here. We’ll talk about some of the different options and features of what’s available and tell you where in the room to install the detector. Finally, we’ll tell you how to test them to ensure they are working properly and how often to change the batteries.

So let’s get started.

According to the manufacturer’s instructions, it’s a good idea to install a smoke and carbon monoxide detector in every bedroom in the house. Since smoke rises, the best place to detect it is on or near the ceiling.

The unit I have here is a battery-operated unit. The benefit to this type of unit is that it can be installed anywhere without needing to be hooked up to the home’s electrical supply. Other models must be hardwired to your home’s electrical supply. These units also feature a battery backup in case a loss of power occurs.

For more information on the different types of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors available and where they should be installed, be sure to check out our list of Frequently Asked Questions specifically related to this video.

To install this unit, you first need to separate the unit from the mounting ring. Hold the base firmly and twist the mounting ring counter clockwise to separate the two.

Next, determine where to place the unit. While the best place is directly on the ceiling, the second best place is on the wall, between 4” and 10” from the ceiling. If you’re placing the unit on the wall, make sure it’s below what’s referred to as the dead-air zone, which is a triangle formed where the wall meets the ceiling extending out 4” inches in both directions.

For our installation, we’re going to place the unit directly on the ceiling, making sure to stay clear of heat registers or return ducts, which can interfere with proper operation of the unit.

Now that we have located where to install our alarm, the next step is to locate where to drill the mounting holes by holding the mounting bracket in place and marking the mounting slots with a pencil.

Using a 3/16” (three sixteents) inch drill bit, we’ll drill holes through the marks we made.

Next, we’ll insert the expanding plastic sleeve anchors into the holes we just drilled and gently tap them in with a hammer. Then line up the mounting bracket over the anchors and screw the pan head screws that came with the unit into the anchors to secure the mounting bracket to the ceiling.

Insert the batteries into the unit and make sure they are working before attaching the alarm to the mounting bracket. Then twist the unit onto the mounting bracket and test it again to make sure it works.

There you have it. Now you can rest assured that you and your family are protected from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how often you should change the batteries. In most alarms, the unit will start chirping when the batteries are growing weak, signaling it’s time to change them.

If you have questions about this or any other home improvement project, be sure to read our list of Frequently Asked Questions for this video. And be sure to print out our Project Instructions, which includes a Tools and Materials checklist, before visiting your local independent home improvement retailer. That’s where you’ll find all the products and helpful advice to complete your project. If you’re not sure where to find your local store, check out our Store Locator.

Good luck with your project and thanks for watching.

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  1. 1.turn furnace off

    Put new batteries into the detector if needed. Battery-powered detectors can be installed anywhere.

  2. 2.find air flow

    Separate the unit from the frame.

  3. 3.take out old filter

    Decide on a place on the ceiling or on the wall 4-10 inches from the ceiling to mount the smoke detector. Install away from air ducts.

  4. 4.instert new filter

    Mark with a pencil where the screws will go.

  5. 5.close furnace

    Drill the holes for the screws

  6. 6.turn furnace on

    Insert expanding plastic sleeve anchors and gently tap with a hammer.

  7. 7.turn furnace on

    Place the detector mount and secure it with screws.

  8. 8.turn furnace on

    Attach the smoke detector unit onto the mounted frame.

  9. 9.turn furnace on

    Push the testing button to make sure that it works. Replace batteries when needed.


Project Faqs « back to project


My smoke detector beeped last night, but there was no smoke. What is wrong with it?

This is a warning signal that the batteries are low. If your alarm is more than 10 years old, you should consider replacing it, just to make sure... More »


Where should I install carbon monoxide detectors in the home?

The safest recommendation is to put one in every room, but most people are not willing to do this. The simplest rule is to mount one between the... More »

Do I need to worry about carbon monoxide in my home?

If you have a gas or oil furnace, dryer, refrigerator, water heater, space heater, fireplace, wood stove or gas range, then you need to be... More »

What’s the difference between a ionization and a photoelectric smoke detector and where should they be used?

An ionization fire alarm is designed to detect a smoldering fire more quickly than a photoelectric smoke detector will. It should be used in rooms... More »

How long should a smoke detector last?

We recommend that you replace any smoke detector that is more than 10 years... More »

What are the different types of smoke detectors?

Thermal smoke detectors detect heat only. Ionization smoke detectors respond particularly well to smoke caused by flaming fires. Photoelectric smoke... More »

What kind of security system do I need to protect my doors and windows?

A perimeter system protects the doors and windows while an area alarm has a motion detector that protects entire... More »

My cabinets have handles that have holes that are 3-1/2” apart, but I am only finding new handles that fit holes 3” apart, what do you recommend?

Most pulls are generally on 3” mounting centers. You will need to drill new holes and look for pulls that are designed to cover the previous... More »

Are the shelf support brackets used on RTA furniture all the same size?

No. The most common size is 5mm, but there are many variations. If you can’t find the right size, it may be easier to just drill the holes out a... More »

I want to hang some shelves but first I want to make sure I don’t hit any electrical wiring buried in the wall with my anchors. What’s the best way to do this?

By using a stud finder with a built-in AC current detector, you can trace hot wiring behind walls to make sure you drill in the right... More »

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