Massachusetts Smoke Detector Law

By Robert Robillard on Home And Personal Safety

NEW – Massachusetts Smoke Detector Law



Thank you to Concord Firefighter William Whalen who brought this new law to my attention:
Effective April 5, 2010.

Massachusetts state law currently requires that all homes must be equipped with smoke detectors.

Anyone selling a property is mandated to comply before closing on any home, the seller must follow the smoke detector law and arrange for and pass a fire department inspection.

The existing law:

This law requires that there must be an operable smoke detector on every habitable level, including the basement.

On the first floor, smoke detectors should be placed on the ceiling in a hallway near a stairwell to the second floor. If there is a bedroom on the first floor there should also be a detector outside the bedroom door.

On the second floor, the smoke detector must be placed on the ceiling in the hallway common to all of the bedrooms, normally at the head of the stairs. This is done so that the smoke will get to the detector before it reaches the bedroom.

In the basement, smoke detectors should be placed on the cellar ceiling at the base of the stairs. In an unfinished basement, it should be on the edge of the joist and never placed at the top of the basement stairs by the cellar door.

In properties that were built after 1975 it is mandatory to have a hardwired system with battery backups.

New Regulation Effective April 5, 2010

The technologies currently used in smoke detectors are ionization or photoelectric.

The new smoke detector law requires the use of both technologies in all living levels as well as the basement. The exception to this will be 20 feet from a kitchen or bathroom containing a tub or shower. An ionization detector cannot be used in these areas due to its sensitivity to steam. In these sensitive locations, a photoelectric sensor alone is required.

The new Massachusetts regulations apply to all single and multi-family homes that were recently built or substantially altered and sold after April 5, 2010. The state code governs homes that were built or altered after January 1, 1975 and the state already imposes the same set of restrictions.

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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