Smoke Detector Technologies & MA Law
MA Smoke Detector Requirements And Ionization Versus Photoelectric Smoke Detectors
Single family and 2-family residential real estate sold in MA must be inspected by the fire department. The fire department checks for operating smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. A smoke certificate is provided for the closing. It is important for home owners to understand the MA smoke detector requirements and ionization versus photoelectric smoke detectors in order to be in compliance (even if they are not selling their home).
Ionization Versus Photoelectric Smoke Detectors
Ionization and photoelectric at the two different technologies for smoke detectors. Each has different pros and cons relating to recognizing smoke and flames.
Ionization detectors contain two electrodes and current that connects them. Smoke interrupts this current which sets off the alarm. This design of smoke detector is better at detecting flaming fires but does not differentiate between smoke and steam. Therefore, they are likely to issue false alarms when placed near kitchens and baths.
Photoelectric smoke detectors use a beam of light. Smoke or fire will scatter this beam and trigger the alarm. It is very effective at recognizing smoldering fire and is less sensitive to false alarms from kitchen or shower steam.
MA Smoke Detector Requirements
MA laws dictate the kinds and placement of smoke detectors in residential homes. The rules vary based on when a home was built or significantly improved. The following is an overview of the location of smoke detectors inside a residence.
|Location||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||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Base of Every Stairway||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Outside Every Sleeping Space||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Minimum 1 for Every 1,200 sq.ft. Living Space per Floor||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Inside All Bedrooms||Y||Y||Y|
|Bottom of Each Stairwell to a finished level||Y|
|Within 20ft. of Kitchens/Baths||Photoelectric||Photoelectric||Photoelectric||Photoelectric|
|Outside of 20ft. of Kitchens/Baths||Both Ionization & Photoelectric||Photoelectric OR Dual||Photoelectric|
More information on MA smoke detector requirements can be found at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/dfs2/osfm/fire-prev/smoke-alarm-regulations.html. Note that this information is just an summary, should not be interpreted as legal advice and is subject to change in the future. Furthermore, local communities may impose stricter rules above the state ones. Speak with your local fire department to request comprehensive and current laws for your home.
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