Smoke Detectors

Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Guidelines

The State of Massachusetts, under Massachusetts General Law chapter 148 section 26F and 26F 1/2, mandates upon the sale or transfer of certain homes the seller must install approved smoke detectors.

  • If you are in the process of selling your home, you will need to obtain a certificate from the Fire Department, certifying that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are present in your home and in good working order. The application for this certificate can be obtained from the Fire Department Secretary’s Office. There is a $50 fee, due at the time of the application 
  • Some detectors and carbon monoxide detectors can be battery operated unless hard wire smoke detectors were installed at the time the home was built. Hard wire detection CANNOT be replaced by battery detectors.
  • Once the certificate has been signed by the inspector, it is valid for 60 days. In general, the inspection is not scheduled until a firm closing date for the sale of the home has been set. 
  • If the homeowner is having an addition built to his/her home, and the addition includes at least one bedroom, then the home will need to be brought up to code, in its entirety.
  • Guide to Massachusetts Department of Fire Services Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Requirements When Selling a Residence
  • Smoke Alarm Regulations

Below are new regulations that apply only to residences built prior to 1/1/1975:

  • Smoke detectors located within 20 feet of an entryway to a kitchen or bathroom containing a bathtub or a shower shall not use ionization technology to determine an alarm condition. These devices shall be of the photoelectric type.
  • In areas other than the bathroom and kitchen, an approved monitored battery power smoke detector or an approved primary power smoke detector shall be one which employs both the ionization and photoelectric technology, in either a single unit or by means of two separate units to determine an alarm condition.

Certificate of Compliance – Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Alarms (26F, 26F ½)

  • Please test all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they operate BEFORE the inspection. Your permit/certificate will be issued on site, pending approval of the fire inspector.
  • Smoke detectors shall be installed in the following manner : an approved smoke detector shall be installed on the ceiling of each stairway leading to the floor above, near the base of, but not within each stairway and an approved smoke detector shall be installed on the ceiling outside each separate sleeping area
  • Carbon Monoxide Alarms shall be located in each level of each dwelling unit including habitable portions of basements, cellars, and attics. They shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Carbon Monoxide alarms installed on the level of the sleeping area shall be installed in the hallway outside of the sleeping area not to exceed ten (10) feet in any direction from any bedroom door **** Combination alarms must have a simulated voice and alarm
  • A Number Must be on the House at the Time of the Inspection. Your permit/certificate cannot be issued unless the number is present, as required by M.G.L. Chapter 148, Section 59
  • Any homes built prior to 1991 MUST replace all the hard wire detectors prior to receiving a Certificate of Compliance

If you have any questions in relation to home inspections, please contact the Fire Prevention Officer at 978-688-9590.

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