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March 30, 2017
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Updated On: Mar 20, 2012

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you need a Certificate of Compliance for Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors for a condo or single family home read these guidelines thoroughly and follow all instructions  in order to acquire a certificate.

In order to be compliant with the regulation you will need:

     • smoke detectors 

     • carbon monoxide detectors 

     • house numbers.

It is the responsibility of the realtor / homeowner to place the proper detector in the locations required.

It is important that the smoke detectors  and CO detectors be approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).  Be sure that the detectors have the UL label on the back of the detectors.

Typical single family residences built before January 1, 1975:

Owners must now install smoke detectors employing both ionization and photoelectric technologies in  all places where they were previously required, EXCEPT within 20 feet of a kitchen or a bathroom containing a bathtub or shower. Within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom containing a bathtub or shower, ONLY a photoelectric smoke detector is allowed. Compliance can be achieved by installing two separate detectors using these technologies, or by installing one detector which uses both technologies. The new regulations do not change the location where the detectors need to be placed. They only change the technologies that have to be employed.

In residences not subject to MGL c.148,s.26F(built after January 1975), the smoke detector upgrade is recommended, but is not required by law.  This would be in reference to those properties that have hard wired detection systems.

Smoke Detectors are required as follows:

              *   Must be mounted on ceiling and at least 6 inches from    

                   nearest wall.                                                                       

              *   On  every habitable level of the residence.  If a single level has an area in excess of 1200 S/F, a second smoke detector is required remote from the first.     

              *   On the ceiling above the base of each  stairway (Including the basement). if the  ceiling is not finished place the detector on the bottom of the floor joist.  Do not put the detector on the sloped                    part of the ceiling above the stairs.

              *   On  the ceiling outside of each separate sleeping area.

              *   The smoke detectors may either be battery powered, hardwired or a combination of the two.

              *   If the smoke detector is located within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom (containing a bathtub or shower), the smoke detector will be required to be a photoelectric detector.

              *   If the smoke detector is outside of 20 feet of a kitchen or a bathroom (containing a bathtub or shower) you must utilize either:

              

  •                  A dual detector (containing both ionization and photoelectric technologies); OR
  •                  Two separate detectors (one photoelectric and one ionization).

Low voltage household warning systems are exempt from the dual detection requirement.

 

 

 Carbon Monoxide Detectors are required as follows: 

For buildings with fossil-fuel burning equipment or enclosed parking areas, the regulations require carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home and within ten feet of each sleeping area and in habitable portions of attics.  

If your home contains equipment which includes: water heaters, oil or gas furnaces, wood or gas fireplaces, wood pellet stoves, gas clothes dryers, or gas cooking stoves, you will need to follow the CO detector requirements.  Homes with  attached garages will also require CO detectors.       

              *  May be ceiling or wall mounted if CO only detector.  May be either: battery powered, AC plug-in with battery backup or hardwired with battery backup.

              *  A CO detector must be located  on every level of the residence,  including basements and habitable portions of attics but  excluding crawl  spaces.

              A CO detector must be located within the immediate vicinity of the sleeping area, not to exceed 10 feet from any bedroom door.

              *  Homes with attached garages will also require CO detectors in the home and not in the garage.

Combination detectors (photoelectric smoke and carbon monoxide detector) may be used if the detector is within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom (containing a bathtub or shower). Acceptable combination smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms must have simulated voice and tone alarms that clearly distinguish between the two types of emergencies.  Combination units must be ceiling mounted.

Combination detectors (ionization smoke and carbon monoxide detector) may be used if the detector is outside of 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom (containing a bathtub or shower). Acceptable combination smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms must have simulated voice and tone alarms that clearly distinguish between the two types of emergencies. Combination units must be ceiling mounted.

House Numbers are required as follows:

House numbers should be at least 3 “ high in numerals only.  They should be a contrasting color to the house and clearly visible from the street.  If the home is not visible from the street the number should be on a post or marker at the street as well as on the home.  The numbers should be to the left or right of the entry door  and not on the door itself.  No Adhesive Numbers

 

Smoke and CO Detector Placement Guidelines

Basement

Smokes Detectors     There must be 2 smoke detectors (Ionization and Photoelectric) on the ceiling at the bottom of the basement stairway.  In unfinished construction, detectors should be mounted on the bottom of the floor joist.  If there is a full bathroom or kitchen in the basement that is within 20 feet of the stairway then the detector should be photoelectric only. 

Carbon Monoxide Detector      A CO detector must  be located in the basement.  It can go in the same location as the smoke detectors.  If there are bedrooms in the basement then the detector must be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door.  The CO detector should not be located within 10 feet of a Carbon Monoxide producing appliance.

1st Floor         

Smoke Detectors     Smoke detectors (ionization and photoelectric) must go on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairway leading to the 2nd floor.  If this location is within 20 feet of a bathroom or kitchen then the detector should be photoelectric only.   If there are any bedrooms on the first floor then  a smoke detector should go on the ceiling outside the sleeping area.

Carbon Monoxide Detector     A Carbon Monoxide detector should be placed on the first floor level.  If there are bedrooms on the first floor then the CO Detector should be within 10 feet of the bedroom door.

2nd Floor           

Smoke Detectors     There should be a smoke detector on the ceiling outside the sleeping area, typically in the common hallway.  If there is a bathroom within 20 feet of these bedrooms then a photoelectric detector should be used.  If these bedrooms are beyond 20 feet then 2 detectors (Ionization and Photoelectric) should be used.  If you sleep with your bedroom doors closed, it is recommended that a smoke detector be installed inside each bedroom.  Alarms should also be installed in other areas of your home where people sleep.

Carbon Monoxide Detector     A CO detector should be placed on the 2nd floor level.  If there are bedrooms on the 2nd floor then the CO Detector should be in the common hallway within 10 feet of the bedroom doors.

Attic                     

Habitable portions of an attic should have both types of smoke detectors and a CO Detector


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