Oregon Smoke Alarm Requirements

Determining specific smoke alarm requirements for a home can often be difficult to determine. Smoke alarm requirements can vary depending on what the state or local codes were during the time of construction. Requirements for for smoke alarms can also vary depending on current city, county or municipal codes.  Lender or bank requirements for smoke alarms can also vary. 

We don’t believe that grandfathered in codes with minimal alarm requirements is a good reason to compromise the safety of the occupants in the home. 

For the safety of the inhabitants of the home, and to comply with most bank or lender requirements, we recommend abiding by the following guidelines:

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Where Do I Install Smoke Detectors?

  • In each sleeping room

  • Outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms

  • On every level of the home including the basement

  • Smoke alarms shall be installed not less than 3 feet horizontally from the door or opening of a bathroom that contains a bathtub or shower unless this would prevent placement of a smoke alarm.

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Replace Old Smoke Detectors

Smoke alarm sensors wear down over time, limiting their ability to function. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

Hard-Wired Vs. Battery Operated Smoke Detectors

When more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit the alarm devices shall be interconnected in such a manner that the actuation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. This does not pertain to legally existing dwellings unless work requiring a structural permit is taking place. 

Smoke Detectors Near Kitchens 

There are two main types of smoke detectors, Ionization, and Photoelectric. Photoelectric smoke detectors are best at detecting the large particles typical of smoky, smoldering fires but poor at detecting fast, flaming fires. Photoelectric units are less prone to false alarms from burnt food, so they may be a better fit in kitchen areas.

Wall Or Ceiling Location?

Follow manufacturer’s location guidelines. 

Smoke detectors should be installed only according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to follow the guidelines as to height and proximity to corners. 

For further reading on city of Portland smoke alarm requirements, please visit: