An important change to MA Smoke Detector Law goes into effect on December 1, 2016 . The change specifically applies to homes built before 1975. Any homeowners looking to sell a property should be aware of this important change as failing to comply could result in closing delays.
MA Smoke Detector Law for Homes Built Before 1975
All homes in Massachusetts must have smoke detectors installed in very specific locations throughout the home. As of December 1, 2016, homes built before 1975 must now have smoke detectors with a 10-year life span. This means that it must have a 10-year battery. Smoke detectors with sealed lithium ion batteries are sold at local hardware stores and would meet the requirements of this new law.
Home Sellers Should Replace Smoke Detectors
If you own a home that was built before 1975, you most likely have older smoke detectors in your home and will need to purchase new ones. There are two different types of smoke detector technologies out there: ionization and photoelectric. In addition to needing a 10-year battery, you will also need specific types of detectors within your home. For example, MA law requires photoelectric detectors be installed near kitchens and bathrooms since they are less sensitive to steam from showers and cooking, therefore producing fewer false alarms.
Use Your Local Fire Department as a Resource
It is a good idea to contact your local fire department for clarification on where you must install smoke detectors and what types are required in different areas of the home. Some communities have local laws requiring photoelectric detectors throughout the home rather than just near kitchens and baths. Getting a full understanding of the requirements will save you time and energy. Be sure to install all smoke detectors before scheduling an inspection by the local fire department.
Hardwired Smoke Detectors
Hardwired smoke detectors are typically required in homes built before 1975. However, even hard wired smoke detectors must have battery backups in case the power goes out. Please be aware that the 10-year battery life requirement applies to both freestanding and hard wired smoke detectors.
Avoid Delays from MA Smoke Detector Law Changes
This change to MA Smoke Detector Law takes effect December 1, 2016. Therefore, any homes with smoke inspections on on or after that date must be in compliance. Keep this in mind if you are selling your home this winter. You must have a smoke certificate from the fire department in order to sell your home. If you have issues with your smoke detectors and are unable to get the certificate in time, this will delay your closing.