Smoke and CO Alarm Inspection

As we previously shared, the Governor’s orders include the ability to close on homes even if you are unable to obtain a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm inspection of residential properties due to the COVID-19 shutdowns.  Inspections 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 addendum to the fire department within 72 hours.  You should speak with the local fire department to determine if they are still offering inspections – this deferral is only if you are not able to obtain one.  You should also ask how they would prefer to receive a copy of the Addendum (see below) – some prefer it to be mailed within 72 hours of execution with a check, others have a drop-box and others still may accept it online.  We have also heard that many fire departments are closed for personal contact, but may be providing advice and information over the phone to assist you in this process – communication remains key!

Tools to Assist:

    • 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 your home will pass the inspection:
    • 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.