Single family and 2-family residential properties sold in the state of MA must be inspected by the fire department. They check for working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. They then issue a smoke certificate required for the closing. It is prudent for home owners to know the MA smoke detector rules and different kinds of smoke detectors in order to be in compliance (even if they are not planning to sell their home).
Different Kinds Of Smoke Detectors
Ionization and photoelectric at the two different types of smoke detectors. Each has different strengths and weaknesses relating to handling smoke versus flames.
Ionization Smoke Detectors
Ionization detectors contain two electrodes and current that runs between them. The presence of smoke interferes with this constant current and activates the alarm. This technology is better at detecting flaming fires but cannot differentiate between smoke and steam. Thus, they are likely to issue false alarms when placed near kitchens and bathrooms.
Photoelectric smoke detectors use a beam of light. The presence of smoke or fire will scatter this beam and trigger the alarm. It is more effective at recognizing smoldering fire and is not as sensitive to false alarms from cooking or shower steam.
MA Smoke Detector Rules
MA laws dictate the kinds and placement of smoke detectors in single family and two-family buildings. The rules differ depending on when a property was constructed or significantly altered. The following is an overview of the installation of smoke detectors within a property.
|Placement||before 1975||1975 to Aug. 27, 1997||after Aug. 27, 1997||on or after Jan. 1, 2008||on or after Feb. 4, 2011|
|Every Living Level||Required||Required||Required||Required||Required|
|Bottom of Each Stairwell||Required||Required||Required||Required|
|Outside Each Sleeping Area||Required||Required||Required||Required||Required|
|Minimum 1 for Every 1,200 sf Finished Space per Level||Required||Required||Required||Required|
|Inside Each Bedroom||Required||Required||Required|
|Bottom of Each Stairway to an Occupied Floor||Required|
|Within 20ft. of Kitchens/Baths||Photoelectric||Photoelectric||Photoelectric||Photoelectric|
|Outside of 20ft. of Kitchens/Baths||Both Ionization & Photoelectric||Photoelectric OR Dual||Photoelectric|
More details on MA smoke detector rules can be viewed at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/dfs2/osfm/fire-prev/smoke-alarm-regulations.html. Note that this information is just an overview, must not be interpreted as legal advice and may change without notice. Additionally, cities can impose additional rules beyond state mandated ones. Contact your local fire department for full and up-to-date information for your home.