Is your home up to code?
If you are listing a home in Baltimore, make sure you are aware of Maryland's smoke alarm laws.
New hard wired CO/Smoke detectors are needed on every level of the home now required....No more batteries!
All alarms more than 10 years old should be replaced — the manufacture date can usually be found on the back of the alarm.
“If you can’t find a date, the alarm is most likely older than 10 years,”
Below is a fact sheet designed to clarify this regulation and what it means for home owners.
What the law requires now
- Replacement of battery-only smoke alarms with new, 10-year smoke alarms with sealed batteries and a "hush" feature (to silence the alarm temporarily during cooking).
- Replacement of hardwired devices more than 10 years old. Hardwired devices newer than 10 years still are acceptable.
- Hard-wired devices must be replaced with hard-wired devices. You cannot replace a hard-wired alarm with a battery-only alarm.
What the law requires in the future
- The law requires replacement of ALL smoke alarms -- hard-wired and battery-only -- when they are 10 years old. That means 10 years from the date of manufacture printed on on the back of the alarm. If you can't find a date, your smoke alarm needs to be replaced.
- Smoke alarms lose their operational sensitivity after 10 years.
- Hard-wired devices must be replaced with hard-wired devices.
What brand of alarm should I buy?
- BCoFD does not endorse one manufacturer over another.
- Smoke alarms are available at most home supply and "big box" retail stores and at many online retailers.
- Alarms should comply with Underwriters Laboratory (UL) 217, "Standard for Safety for Single and Multiple Station Smoke Alarm."
What about rental properties?
- The new law applies to rental properties.
- However, the new requirements do not impact individuals in the County’s rental registration program because the County’s rental registration provisions do not permit battery-operated smoke detector units and require hard-wired smoke detectors.
- The local fire code does not grant right of entry into privately-owned single- and multi-family dwellings.
Purpose of the law
- The law was designed to achieve the most reliable smoke alarm coverage possible in older dwellings without requiring homeowners to run new wiring.
- The law's overall purpose is reduction of fire deaths and injuries.
- Studies of residential fire fatalities show that more than half of smoke alarms in these incidents failed to sound because the 9-volt battery had been removed. The sealed battery requirement eliminates that problem.
Placement of smoke alarms
- Smoke alarms should be placed on every level of the home and inside every bedroom.
- Additional information about installation and maintenance of smoke alarms is available on our website.