No Expired Alarms; Replacement Alarms Must Have 10-year Batteries
Starting December 1, older one- and two-family homes cannot be sold with expired or out-of-date smoke alarms. The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations has revised the State Fire Code to require that one- and two-family homes built before 1975 must have working smoke alarms that have not expired. Working smoke alarms installed prior to December 1, 2016 (that met previous requirements) can continue to be used until they are ten years old or have exceeded the manufacturer’s recommended life, whichever occurs first.
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “Most people know they should have working smoke alarms. The one thing many people don’t realize is that smoke alarms need to be replaced about every ten years.” Major manufacturers of smoke alarms indicate they have a service life of about ten years and recommend replacement after that because the sensing technology deteriorates over time.
New Requirements When Replacing Alarms
When replacing expired alarms, the regulations require the new alarms be photoelectric with a hush button feature to silence nuisance alarms. Intensifying smoke will override the hush feature. Alarms can be photoelectric alone, or in combination with ionization technology. They may also provide smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detection in the same device. The biggest change is that replacement battery powered alarms will have to have a 10-year, sealed, non-replaceable, non-rechargeable battery. These batteries won’t ever have to be changed for the life of the smoke alarm. The entire unit, the smoke alarm and the battery, will need to be replaced at the end of ten years, and the alarm will give you an end-of-life warning.
Guide for Homeowners and Realtors
The Department of Fire Services has posted an updated version our Consumer’s Guide to Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements for Selling 1- and 2-Family Homes on our website. The guide covering the existing requirements for homes being sold through November 30 will remain on the site until December 1. Go to www.mass.gov/DFS and type “Smoke Alarm Regulations” in the search box. The best source of information about a specific home is your local fire prevention bureau as they will be conducting the inspection.
Every Home Should Have Working Smoke and CO alarms
“The goal is to have working smoke and CO alarms when you really need them. Alarms that are easier to keep in good working order, should reduce the reasons people disable them,” said Ostroskey.
How to Find Out How Old Smoke or CO Alarms Are:
Check the manufacture date stamped on the back of the alarm to see how old it is. If it doesn’t have one, then it is already more than ten years old and needs to be replaced.
No Working Smoke Alarms in 55% of Last Winter’s Fire Deaths
“Last winter too many people died in homes without working smoke alarms,” said Ostroskey, “No one thinks fire will happen to them, but a majority of fire deaths occur in homes without working alarms.” Last winter (December 2015 – March 2016), there were 31 fire deaths in homes and in more than 1/2, 55%, there were no working smoke alarms. One-third of those who died in fires were seniors – people over 65.
How is a home owner suppose to know this ??? I recently worked on a house that had working smoke alarms but had a date on them from 1988 and 1989 . there has to be away to tell the normal home owner and not just the builders . The house I worked on did not have work done on it since 1989 . the state can’t expect work to be done every ten years to a house or leave it up to the builders of the world to drive around knocking on everybody’s doors asking how old are your smoke alarms . Now I would like your thoughts .
Thanks for your comments.
It is very difficult to educate homeowners however with changing regulations a mechanism is provided when a homeowner decides to create an action requiring an upgrade. My opinion everyone should be cognoscente of what the manufactures requirement are and how long a detector is warrenteed for. The manufacture puts limitations on a product for liability purposes. I will be the first to admit when I was in the building business in the late 80’s early 90’s I never went and gathered the electricians manufacture paperwork on smoke detectors and handed it over to the new homeowner, looking back it would be a good practice. Why, well today with all these regulations it’s important for the CSL to know the code and how to apply it for liability purposes.
In your case the regulation worked for the homeowner had not changed the detectors as the manufacture indicated, provided the label on the smoke had an expiration date, some dated that far back did not. When an activity warranted a professional to check then the information I assume, was conveyed to the homeowner. The liability falls with the owner, if your a builder it’s your liability to convey the manufactures requirements of a product to a new owner.
Assume if you have been in the home for more than 8 – 10 years, you need new detectors if you didn’t replace them when you moved in. When in doubt, throw the old ones out. The new ones are sealed and have a ten-year backup battery that cannot be replaced, you have to replace the entire unit.
How about larger print and numbers on the outside shell of the smoke detectors? Something that can be read while standing on the floor versus trying to kill yourself on a ladder or a chair while checking the unit! That way even a child can say daddy we need a new smoke alarm …..Think about it
If you are selling a home the seller has to get a fire Dept. inspection for smokes and co2. Why not make it mandatory that all detectors must be replaced at this time and the paper work passed on at the passing of ownership of the home, that there are good for the next 10 years . 2nd a month and year should be in plain sight as to when they expire. 3rd a copy of a work order or sales slip should have to go to the home owners insurance co each year at renewal time so even if you change companies the new insurer would up dated. If you don’t do this no insurance . Loans must be insured . To renew a CSL you have to do CEU’s no CEU’s no license All you have to do is make it simple and people will do it