Single family and two-family homes sold in MA must be inspected by the local fire department to confirm the operation of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. A smoke certificate is issued for the closing. It is important for property owners to know the MA smoke detector requirements and smoke detector technologies in order to be in compliance (even if they are not planning to sell their home).
Smoke Detector Technologies
There are two primary types of smoke detectors, ionization and photoelectric. Each has different pros and cons relating to recognizing smoke versus flames.
Ionization detectors contain two electrodes and current that runs between them. Smoke interferes with this current and causes the alarm to sound. This technology is good at detecting flaming fires but cannot differentiate between smoke and steam. Thus, they are prone to false alarms when placed near kitchens and baths.
Photoelectric smoke detectors have a beam of light. Smoke or fire can interrupt the beam and activate the alarm. It is very accurate at recognizing smoldering fire and is not as sensitive to false alarms from kitchen smoke or shower steam.
MA Smoke Detector Requirements
MA rules mandate the kinds and installation of smoke detectors in residential buildings. The details differ depending on when a property was built or renovated. The following is an overview of the installation of smoke detectors inside a home.
|Location||before 1975||1975 to Aug. 27, 1997||after Aug. 27, 1997||on or after Jan. 1, 2008||on or after Feb. 4, 2011|
|Every Level of Living||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Base of Each Stairwell||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Outside Each Sleeping Space||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Minimum 1 for Every 1,200 sf Finished Space per Floor||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Inside Every Bedroom||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bottom of Every Stairway to a finished level||Yes|
|Within 20ft. of Kitchens/Baths||Photoelectric||Photoelectric||Photoelectric||Photoelectric|
|Outside of 20ft. of Kitchens/Baths||Both Ionization & Photoelectric||Photoelectric OR Dual||Photoelectric|
Additional information on MA smoke detector requirements can be viewed at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/dfs2/osfm/fire-prev/smoke-alarm-regulations.html. Note that the above information is merely an overview, should not be interpreted as legal advice and is subject to change without notice. Additionally, cities and towns may impose additional laws beyond state mandated ones. Contact your local fire department to obtain comprehensive and current information for your property.