If you have bought or sold a home in Massachusetts, you may already be aware of a law requiring smoke detectors in all residential properties that are sold in this state. As of December 1, 2016, there is an important change to MA Smoke Detector Law. Here is what you should know as a Massachusetts homeowner.

An Overview of the Existing MA Law

The existing MA smoke detector law requires smoke detectors to be installed within specific areas of a home. The requirements vary slightly depending on the age and number of units in the property. The law also requires photoelectric smoke detectors within 20 feet of kitchens and bathrooms, as these are less prone to false alarms from cooking fumes and bathroom steam.

Details on Changes to MA Smoke Detector Law

As of December 1, 2016, and additional requirement has been added to properties built before 1975. For these older homes, installed smoke detectors must have a 10 year life span. Detectors with a 10-year sealed lithium ion battery meet this criteria. They can be found at your local hardware store. The cost may be a little higher than smoke detectors that you may have purchased in the past.

Reason for Changes to the Law

You may be surprised to learn that many home fires take place in properties with existing smoke detectors. However, those detectors are commonly not functioning due to the batteries not being replaced or being removed altogether. This requirement for 10-year battery life on smoke detectors is aimed to prevent some of those tragedies.

Tips for MA Home Sellers

If you are selling a home in MA that was built before 1975, you will likely need to replace all of the smoke detectors in your home to meet this new standard. Call the local fire department to get a clear understanding of where smoke detectors are required in your home and what types you will need. Be sure to install and test them before your smoke inspection appointment. Do not wait until the last minute to schedule your inspection. If there are any issues with your smoke detectors, you may need to correct the problems and schedule another inspection before closing. You will not be able to sell your home without a smoke certificate confirming that your home is in compliance with MA Smoke Detector Law.