New Massachusetts Comprehensive Safety Code(s) have taken effect as of December 1st, 2016. Please note these amendments relative to smoke and CO detectors may impact the ability of the Fire Department to issue certificates of compliance for the sale/transfer of residential property if older detectors have not been replaced.
Click here to view current Massachusetts regulations
Amended changes as of December 1st, 2016
Starting December 1, older one- and two-family homes cannot be sold with expired or out-of-date smoke alarms.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.
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.
Amended changes as of January 1st, 2015
Chapter 13 Fire Protection Systems.
- 13.7.2 Smoke Detection. 22.214.171.124.5 Unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer’s published instructions, single- and multiple-station smoke alarms installed in one and two family dwellings shall be replaced when they fail to respond to operability tests, but shall not remain in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture. Where alarms have exceeded the manufacturers’ listed service life they shall be replaced.
- 13.7.6 Carbon Monoxide Detection. 126.96.36.199.7 Unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer’s published instructions, single- and multiple-station carbon monoxide alarms installed in one and two family dwellings shall be made operable when they fail to respond to operability tests. Alarms shall be replaced when either the end-of-life signal is activated or the manufacturer’s replacement date is reached.
- 188.8.131.52.8 Combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms shall be replaced when the end-of-life signal activates or 10 years from the date of manufacture, which ever comes first.
The life expectancy of carbon monoxide alarms is 5-7 years, depending on the alarm manufacturer. Therefore, NO certificate of compliance will be issued by the Fire Department after January 1, 2015 for dwellings where the CO detector is in service longer than 7 years from the date of manufacture, or for dwellings where the smoke detector or combination smoke/carbon monoxide detector is in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture.
It is the responsibility of the seller (or his/her agent) to ensure compliance with the regulations prior to scheduling an inspection. Failure to do so could result in a reinspection fee being required after detectors have been replaced to achieve compliance.