Preparing Your Home for a Smoke and CO Alarm Inspection
Emergency Order on Sale and Transfer Inspections
Under an Executive Order that is part of the State of Emergency, smoke and CO alarm inspections for the sale and transfer of residential properties may be deferred until 90 days after the State of Emergency is lifted if certain legal conditions are met. The buyer must agree to immediately equip the home with smoke and CO alarms that meet the code requirements AND submit the signed agreement to the fire department within 72 hours.
The Department of Fire Services has worked closely with the Fire Prevention Association of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Realtors Association to develop a documentation process and approved language that can be found in a form on the Mass. Realtor’s Association webpage.
Every Home Needs Working Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Every home should have working smoke and CO alarms. You must have a certificate of compliance that shows your smoke and CO alarms meet certain standards when you sell or transfer a home. This page helps you determine if your alarms meet requirements or must be replaced, and how to get a certificate of compliance.
- Find out when your home was built and the date the last building permit was issued for any renovations. Call the local building department if you don’t know.
- Call the local fire department to schedule your inspection as soon as you have a closing date. The department will issue a certificate of compliance if your alarms pass the inspection. Follow these steps to make sure you home will pass the inspection:
- Using the date your home was built and the date the last building permit was issued, figure out the smoke and CO alarms requirements for your home. These requirements are listed by date in the Guide to Massachusetts Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Requirements When Selling a One- or Two- Family Residence.
- List the location of all smoke and CO alarms in your home. Determine the age of each alarm. The date of manufacture is stamped on the front or back of most alarms. If you have to remove an alarm from its bracket to get the information, be sure to replace the alarm when you are finished. If there is no date on an alarm, it has expired and must be replaced.
- Compare your existing alarms and the requirements for your home to determine if you must replace any or all of the alarms in your house.
- If your smoke and/or CO alarms do not meet the requirements for your house and need replacement, you can purchase and install new equipment yourself or hire someone to do so. You may need an electrician to replace hard-wired alarms.
- Battery-powered smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old, or have expired must be replaced with alarms with 10-year, sealed, non-rechargeable, non-replaceable batteries. They must be photoelectric and have a hush feature to silence nuisance alarms.
- After your new smoke and CO alarms are installed, test them.
Your local fire department will charge a fee for the inspection and certificate. Call them for more information. If you have questions about the requirements for your home or inspection and certificates, call your local fire department.