Smoke Detector Requirements

SMOKE DETECTOR REQUIREMENTS HARD WIRED AND LOW VOLTAGE SYSTEMS

Typical one- and two-family residences built before January 1, 1975:

Smoke detectors are required as follows: 

On every habitable level of the residence.

On the ceiling at the base of each stairway.

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 alarms are required as follows:

On every level of the residence, including habitable portions of basements and attics and must be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door.

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).

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).

May be either: battery powered, plug-in with battery backup, hardwired with battery backup, or system type.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement.

Typical one- and two-family residences permitted between 1975 and August 27, 1997:

Smoke detectors are required as follows: 

One smoke detector on every habitable level of the residence.

One smoke detector on the ceiling at the base of each stairway.

One smoke detector on the ceiling outside of each separate sleeping area.

A minimum of one smoke detector must be installed for every 1,200 square feet of living space per level.

Must be hardwired interconnected smoke detectors.

Carbon monoxide alarms are required as follows:

On every level of the residence, including habitable portions of basements and attics and must be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door.

Combination detectors (photoelectric smoke and carbon monoxide detector) may be used anywhere.

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).

May be either: battery powered, plug-in with battery backup, hardwired with battery backup, or system type.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement.

 Typical one- and two-family residences permitted after August 27, 1997:

Smoke detectors are required as follows:

One smoke detector on every habitable level of the residence.

One smoke detector at the base of each stairway.

One smoke detector outside of each separate sleeping area.

One smoke detector inside every bedroom.

A minimum of one smoke detector must be installed for every 1,200 square feet of living space per level.

Must be hardwired and interconnected smoke ▪▪detectors with battery backup.

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

Carbon monoxide alarms are required as follows:

On every level of the residence, including habitable portions of basements and attics and must be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door.

Combination detectors (photoelectric smoke and carbon monoxide detector) may be used anywhere.

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).

May be either: battery powered, plug-in with battery backup, hardwired with battery backup, or system type.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement.

Typical one- and two-family residences permitted on or after January 1, 2008:

Smoke detectors are required as follows: 

One smoke detector on every habitable level of the residence.

One smoke detector at the base of each stairway.

One smoke detector outside of each separate sleeping area.

One smoke detector inside every bedroom.

A minimum of one smoke detector must be installed for every 1,200 square feet of living space per level.

Must be hardwired and interconnected smoke detectors with battery backup.

If the smoke detector is within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom (containing a bathtub or shower), the smoke detector is 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), the smoke detector is required to be either a photoelectric detector or a dual detector (containing both ionization and photoelectric technologies).

Carbon monoxide alarms are required as follows:

On every level of the residence, including ▪▪basements and habitable portions of attics and must be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door.

Combination detectors (photoelectric smoke and ▪▪carbon monoxide detector) may be used.

Must be hardwired and interconnected with ▪▪battery backup. (May be separately wired from the existing smoke detection system.)

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement.

Heat detectors are required as follows:

Must have a single heat detector in any garage attached to or under the residence.

Must be hardwired and interconnected with or without battery backup to the existing smoke detection system.

  • Heat detectors are not required in older homes unless renovation, addition or modification occurs after Jan. 1, 2008.

Typical one- and two-family residences permitted on or after February 4, 2011:

Smoke detectors are required as follows: 

One smoke detector in the basement and on each habitable story of the residence.

One smoke detector at the base of all stairs to another occupied floor .

One smoke detector outside of each separate sleeping area.

One smoke detector inside every sleeping area.

A minimum of one smoke detector must be installed for every 1,200 square feet of area or part thereof.

Must be hardwired and interconnected smoke detector with battery backup.

All smoke detector must be photoelectric.

Heat detectors are required as follows: 

A single heat detector must be installed in an integral or attached garage.

Carbon monoxide alarms are required as follows:

On every level of the residence, including

basements and habitable portions of attics and must be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door

No further than 10 feet from any bedroom door.

Combination alarms (photoelectric smoke and carbon monoxide alarm) may be used.

  • Must be hardwired and interconnected with battery backup. (May be separately wired from the existing smoke detection system.)

Hard Wired Smoke Detectors and when to replace them

The requirements for smoke alarms and household fire alarms systems are outlined in the 2013 NFPA 72: Chapter 29; the 2013 NFPA 72: 29.10 sends you to the 2013 NFPA 72: Chapter 14 for maintenance/inspection requirements for both smoke alarms and smoke detectors.

NFPA 72, 29 Single – and Multiple-Station Alarms and Household Fire Alarm Systems 

NFPA 72, 29.10 Maintenance and Tests

Fire-warning equipment shall be maintained and tested in accordance with the manufacturer’s published instructions and per the requirements of Chapter 14.

NFPA 72, 14.4.6 Household Fire Alarm Systems

NFPA 72, 14.4.7 Replacement of Smoke Alarms in One- and Two-Family Dwellings

Unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer’s published instructions, single- and multiple-station smoke alarms installed in one- and two-family dwellings shall be replaced when they fail to respond to operability test but shall not remain in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture.