http://www.maxreales tateexpos t-ma-home-s ellers /s moke-carbon-monoxide-detector-law/ June 9, ...
outside the bedroom.Forhomes built after1998, smoke detectors are required to be interconnected and have a battery backup....
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Massachusetts Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Laws


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Knowing the Massachusetts Smoke and carbon monoxide detector laws are an important consideration especially when you are selling a home. Find out the two types of smoke detectors including ionization and photoelectric. Know the regulations so you are not caught with an unexpected surprise when selling your real estate.

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Massachusetts Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Laws

  1. 1. http://www.maxreales tateexpos t-ma-home-s ellers /s moke-carbon-monoxide-detector-law/ June 9, 2013Smoke & CarbonMonoxide Detector LawsMassachusetts Smoke Detector LawsOne of the requirements of every home ownerin Massachusetts when selling a property is to provide the newownerwith working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The local fire department in which the home islocated is responsible forconducting the inspection. Massachusetts is one of the strictest states in terms offire safety as has had theirsmoke detectorlaw in place fordecades to prevent unnecessary deaths. A propertycan not change hands without a certification done by the local fire Marshall.When Iam interviewing with a home sellerforthe chance to represent them in the sale of theirhome one ofthe first things Ido is educate them on all the laws they will need to know about when selling theirproperty.The Massachusetts smoke and carbon monoxide detectorlaws are vital to understand along with theMassachusetts Title V Septic law if the home isn’t hooked up to public sewer.The Massachusetts smoke detectorlaws were modified on April 5, 2010. The new regulations relating to theinstallation and maintenance of certain smoke detectors was put in place. Staying up to speed on changes inthese laws like is vital forlandlords, home owners and Realtors alike.It goes without saying that it is imperative that home owners ensure that theirproperties comply with theselaws, both from a public safety and liability stand point. The new modification to these laws are discussedbelow in detail. From experience Ihave seen some towns have theirown nuances on what they will and will notallow. It is always prudent to speak to the town fire department where you are located forfurtherclarification.Two Types Of Smoke DetectorTechnologyThere are two primary detection devices used in today’s smoke detectors. They can be eitherionizationdetectors orphotoelectric detectors.Ionization detectors typically have a constant current running between two electrodes. When smoke hits the device, it blocks the current which causes thealarm to go off.Ionization detectors are usually fasterto sound than photoelectric detectors. The problem with ionization detectors howeveris that they are unable todifferentiate between smoke and steam.This makes these type of detectors more likely to have false alarms when steam from a showerorothersource interrupts the current. This is especiallytrue when the ionization detectoris placed neara kitchen orbathroom area.Photoelectric detectors emit a beam of light. This beam passes in front of the detectorin a straight line. When smoke crosses the path of the light beam,some light is scattered by the smoke particles causing it to make the alarm sound. Photoelectric detectors are less sensitive to false alarms from steamorcooking fumes but can take longerthan ionization detectors to go off.Anothermajorconcern was that ionization detectors do not offerthe best protection against smoldering fires which can be some of the deadliest fires.Photoelectric smoke alarms are more sensitive to smoldering smokey fires. Most of the homes across the country have ionization detectors which aremore sensitive to flames.In 2007, WBZ News in Boston tested both types of these smoke detectors. In a smoky fire the photoelectric detectorwent off first. The Ionizationdetectortook almost 17 minutes into the fire before the alarm finally went off!The debate in Massachusetts has been whetherto require property owners to replace theirionization detectors with photoelectric detectors.Home owners have raised concerns about the cost of replacing smoke detectors that still function properly. Fire departments have suggested that theelimination of false alarms outweighs the additional expense that home owners will need to deal with.New Fire Prevention/DetectorLawsSince there are strengths and weaknesses of photoelectric versus ionization smoke detectors, the Board ofFire Prevention Regulation passed a new regulation know as (527 CMR32.00 et seq).According to the new regulation, owners of certain residential buildings will be required to install and maintainboth the ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors.While the new regulation does not change the locations where smoke detectors are required, it does allowthe installation of both technologies in certain locations.Underthe new regulation, an ionization detectorcan not be placed within 20 feet of a kitchen ora bathroomcontaining a showerora tub In these locations only a photo electronic detectorcan be installed.All property owners should determine what type of smoke detectors they currently have installed. In ordertocomply with the law you can eitherinstall two separate detectors that have both technologies orby installingone that has both.What Properties Are Impacted By The New Regulations?In orderto determine if yourhome orcondominium is affected by this change in the law it would make senseto check with yourlocal fire department ora local Real Estate attorney who up to speed on the changes in thelaw. According to to the new amendment the following types of properties are impacted by the newregulations:Residential buildings under70 feet tall and containing less than six dwelling units.Residential buildings not substantially altered since January 1, 1975, and containing less than 6 residential units.All residential buildings sold ortransferred afterApril 5, 2010, which are less then 70 feet tall, have less than six units, orhave not been substantially alteredsince January 1, 1975.Forall properties in these categories, compliance of the law went into effect April 5, 2010. The law does not apply to these largerbuildings orthose whichwere substantially altered since January, 1975, as these properties already were required to upgrade theirfire safety systems underprevious existing laws.One otherimportant note regarding smoke detectors: Many towns require hard wired smoke detectors and NOT battery operated. You should make certainyou know what the requirement is forthe town in which you are located. As a general rule according to the State fire Marshall’s office, the law is as follows:Homes built after1975 are required upon sale ortransferto comply with the State Building Code in effect at the time of construction.Homes built before 1975 are required upon sale ortransferto comply with the requirements of MGL c. 148, §26E(A).In orderto provide furtherclarification, homes built between 1975 and 1998 are required to have hard wired interconnected smoke detectors outside thebedrooms and one detectoron each floorat the top of the stairs. The smoke detectorat the top of the stairs can be the same detectorthat is required
  2. 2. outside the bedroom.Forhomes built after1998, smoke detectors are required to be interconnected and have a battery backup. Smoke detectors are required in each bedroom,outside the bedroom and at the top of each flight of stairs. A single detectorcan satisfy multiple location requirements, if it is situated properly. Theremust also be one smoke detectoron each level and one smoke detectorforeach 1,200 square feet of living space.These requirements fornewerconstruction also apply to additions and/orrenovations where a bedroom is eitheradded orsubstantially altered. If anaddition orrenovation involves adding orsubstantially changing a bedroom, the entire house, including existing bedrooms must be brought up to thepresent standard according to the Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR), regardless of when the original home was built.Massachusetts Carbon Monoxide DetectorLawIf you are selling yourhome in Massachusetts an additional law that you need to be up to speed on is what’sknown as Nicole’s Law. As of March 2006 when a home is sold you need to have functioning carbon monoxidedetectors.Carbon Monoxide detectors are required in any residence that has fossil-fuel burning equipment including, butnot limited to, a furnace, boiler, waterheater, fireplace orany otherapparatus, appliance ordevice; orhasenclosed parking within its structure.Unfortunately, the law is named for7-year-old Nicole Garofalo who passed away in January 2005 when aheating vent in herhome was blocked by snow drifts, allowing carbon monoxide to build up in the home.According to the carbon monoxide regulations, you need to have a detectoron each finished level of thehome. Furtherthere must be a detectorplaced within ten feet of all the bedroom doors. The detectors donot need to be hard wired. A plug-in orbattery operated detectormeets the requirements and usually themost viable choice.Here are all the types are carbon monoxide detectors that are allowed: • Battery powered with batterymonitoring; • Plug-in (AC powered) units with battery backup; • AC primary power(hard-wired – usuallyinvolves hiring an electrician) with battery backup; • Low-voltage orwireless alarms with secondary power; and• Qualified combination smoke detectors and CO alarmsThe inspection forboth the smoke and carbon detectors are done by the local fire department before theclosing. Ilike to schedule the inspection about a month before the closing so that if there are any issues they can be rectified in plenty of time.The certificate from the fire department is good fortwo months and will need to be brought to the closing. The lenders attorney will most certainly askforthe compliance certificate and you will not be able to close on yourproperty without it!_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________About the author: The above Real Estate information on the Massachusetts Smoke and Carbon Monoxide DetectorLaws was provided by Bill Gassett, aNationally recognized leaderin his field. Bill can be reached via email at orby phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped peoplemove in and out of many Metrowest towns forthe last 25+ Years.Thinking of selling yourhome? Ihave a passion forReal Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!Iservice Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston,Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northboro, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southboro, Sutton, Wayland, Westboro, Whitinsville,Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.Connect with Bill’s Metrowest Real Estate profile on Google+