MA Smoke Detector Regulations And Types Of Smoke Detectors

Single family and 2-family residential homes sold in MA must be inspected by the fire department to confirm the proper installation of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. They then provide a smoke certificate required for the closing. It is prudent for property owners to understand the MA smoke detector regulations and types of smoke detectors and to comply (regardless of whether they are planning to sell their property).

Types Of Smoke Detectors

There are two primary designs of smoke detectors, ionization and photoelectric. Each has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to identifying smoke and fire.

Ionization Detectors

Ionization smoke detectors contain two electrodes and current that runs between them. Smoke interferes with this current and triggers the alarm. Ionization detectors are good at detecting flames but cannot differentiate between smoke and steam. Therefore, they are prone to false alarms when installed near kitchens and bathrooms.

Photoelectric Technology

Photoelectric smoke detectors use a beam of light. Smoke or fire will interrupt this beam and set off the alarm. It is more accurate at detecting smoldering fire and is less prone to false alarms from kitchen smoke or shower steam.

MA Smoke Detector Regulations

MA regulations determine the kinds and placement of smoke detectors in single family and 2-family buildings. The details vary based on when a property was constructed or renovated. Below is an overview of the installation of smoke detectors within a home.

Location before 1975 1975 to Aug. 27, 1997 after Aug. 27, 1997 on or after Jan. 1, 2008 on or after Feb. 4, 2011
Power Source Hardwired
or
Battery
Hardwired
Interconnected
Hardwired
Interconnected
Battery Backup
Hardwired
Interconnected
Battery Backup
Hardwired
Interconnected
Battery Backup
Every Living Level Required Required Required Required Required
Bottom of Every Stairway Required Required Required Required
Outside Each Sleeping Space Required Required Required Required Required
Min. 1 for Every 1,200 sf Living Space per Level Required Required Required Required
Inside Each Bedroom Required Required Required
In Basement Required
Bottom of Each Stairwell 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

Additional Rules That Apply

More laws on MA smoke detector regulations may be viewed at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/dfs2/osfm/fire-prev/smoke-alarm-regulations.html. Note that this information is only an overview, should not be considered legal advice and may change in the future. Additionally, cities/towns may maintain stricter rules beyond the state ones. Contact your local fire department to receive full and current laws for your home.