Why Don’t Garages Have Smoke Detectors? (THREE REASONS)

A garage is an essential extension of your home where you can store tools, do your DIY projects, and store your vehicles.

With the numerous activities in the garage, you will want to keep it safe always. In an attempt to keep your garage safe, you will want to install smoke alarms and heat alarms.

However, if keen, you will notice that most garages do not have smoke sensors.

So, Why Don’t Garages Have Smoke Detectors?

When put in a garage, smoke detectors will respond to changes in temperature, humidity, dust, insects, and fumes. Typically, smoke detectors are not designed to differentiate actual smoke from particles in the air. For this reason, heat sensors are preferred for garages.

Temperature changes in the garage occur naturally and might be higher or lower than that which the alarm has been designed for. Additionally, smoke fumes from vehicle exhaust pipes can cause a nuisance to the smoke sensors and damage them. Modern heat alarm models can be connected to a home’s fire detection system so that when the heat alarm rings, the smoke alarm will also ring. 

Three Reasons Why Smoke Alarms Shouldn’t Be Installed In Your Garage

Here are some of the main reasons why smoke sensors are not designed to work in garages.

1. Varied Temperatures

Smoke alarms are likely to fail when exposed to temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit or more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Manufacturers recommend that the smoke alarms be installed in areas where the temperature does not fall or rise to extreme units.

This ensures that the product operates appropriately without failing because of natural temperature extremes.

A garage will most likely reach the temperature range of the outside environment, which can easily get way above or below the stated extremes.

Always check the sensors’ temperature range because some manufacturers can design their smoke sensors to function from negative 15 degrees Fahrenheit to positive 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Contaminants And Tiny Particles

Garages have numerous activities and are likely to hold a lot of dust and other particles from the air.

Many homes have filters for the furnace and AC system in the garage.

These filters are supposed to keep the air circulating in your home clean. In the long run, the air in the house becomes cleaner than the air in the garage.

There is also a high possibility of having insects and other tiny organisms in the garage, and they might interfere with the functionality of your smoke alarms.

3. High Humidity

High humidity in the air inside your garage may falsely triggers the alarm to sound.

See Also: What Should The Humidity Level Be In The Garage?

Apparently, most smoke sensors cannot differentiate between light smoke and heavy moisture.

The Role Of Smoke And Heat Alarms In Fire Prevention

Fires can cause a significant loss to a home when they are not managed or, better, prevented.

In many states, the law dictates that every home should have an interlinked system that immediately alerts you when there is fire danger and allows you to control or prevent the fire from starting.

As a homeowner, ensure your home meets the fire prevention regulations set in your state.

Every home must have the following:

  • One smoke alarm in the room where you spend most of your day, mostly the living room.
  • One smoke sensor in every circulation space on every story, hallway, and landing.
  • One heat alarm in the kitchen. Mount a smoke alarm on the ceiling and interlink it to a smoke alarm.

For guidance, check the manufacturer’s manual on each set of heat or smoke sensors so that you can interlink them correctly.

If you have appliances that require fuel or carbon to operate, then you must have a carbon monoxide detector.

It is not necessary to link it to the fire or smoke detectors because it can function independently.

It is advisable that you also have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your garage.

The Two Types Of Smoke Alarms To Use

There are two commonly known types of interlinked fire alarms that you can install in your home.

1. Sealed Battery Alarms

These alarms have tamper-proof long-life batteries that can last for about 10 years without being damaged. They are also easy to understand.

2. Mains-Wired Alarms

They are relatively cheaper than sealed battery alarms. However, they must be installed by a qualified electrician and will have to be replaced after every ten years.

The alarms are usually interlinked by a radio frequency, and there is no need for an internet or WiFi connection.

How To Install Smoke Alarms

When buying alarms, choose one that has a label of recognized laboratory testing.

Consider the following steps when installing a smoke alarm.

  • Install the smoke sensors in all bedrooms and outside sleeping areas for every floor in your home without forgetting the basement.
  • The levels that have no bedrooms should have smoke sensors near the stairways or in the open space, or at both places.
  • Install on the ceiling of the basement.
  • Install smoke alarms should be installed at least 3 meters from heat appliances like cookers and heaters to reduce false alarms.
  • Mount the sensors high on walls or ceilings because smoke usually rises up.
  • If you opt to mount alarms on the walls, ensure it is not more than 12 inches from the ceiling.
  • Do not put smoke alarms near ducts, windows, or doors where drafts can easily interfere with the functionality of the sensor
  • Do not paint or decorate smoke alarms, as this can easily interfere with the operations of the smoke sensors.
  • For effective results, interconnect several sensors so that when one alarm sounds, it triggers all the others to also sound. This can be done using hard-wired or wireless technology.
  • Ensure the alarms are compatible before installing them.

For the best results, use a combination of ionization and a photoelectric sensor so that they will alert you when there is either smoke or fire.


Generally, the garage is not an ideal place to install smoke sensors.

The reasons in this article are clear enough to deter you from putting smoke sensors inside the garage.

Heat sensors will work more effectively and efficiently in a garage than smoke sensors.