The survey, conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Kidde, a manufacturer of residential fire safety products, found 67 percent of homeowners had four or fewer smoke alarms in their home, and 12 percent had one alarm.
Chris Rovenstine, vice president, sales and marketing at Kidde, said the average U.S. single-family home should have at least five alarms. Aging smoke alarms may not operate efficiently and may cause nuisance alarms.
A Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center study found that by the time a smoke alarm is 10 years old -- the age at which the National Fire Protection Association recommends replacement -- it has a 30 percent chance of not working due to age-related factors, such as dust accumulation, insects and airborne contaminants, Rovenstine said.
Twenty-three percent of U.S. adults said they would replace their home furnace, heater or air conditioning system if they knew it wouldn't work tomorrow, but fewer than 5 percent said they would replace their smoke alarm.
When replacing alarms, consider a model containing a long-life sealed lithium battery that offers maintenance-free protection for 10 years and never needs its battery replaced, Rovenstine suggested.
The survey was conducted in April. No margin of error was provided.