Recently, New Jersey ( and the rest of the country) enacted new smoke detector regulations. You need to be aware of this if you’re either selling or renting a home. The low cost battery operated smoke detectors are no longer permitted. The new regulations state that all homes built before 1978 must use a new style of smoke detector. These units have a sealed battery which has a 10 year life. In the older style, a low battery triggers an alarm to let you know that the battery needs replacement. However, many people just remove the battery when it gets low. Additionally, sometimes people need the battery for another device,. And sometimes they don’t replace it rendering the smoke detector inoperative. As a matter of fact, the most common cause of non-functioning smoke alarms is a dead battery.
What Homes Are affected?
The new regulations apply to homes built before 1978. In 1978, some homes were hard wired for smoke detectors., which means that the smoke detectors were AC operated. These homes have no changes to the fire code.The battery in those units is for backup power, not normal operation. However, some homes built after 1977 were not hard wired, therefore they use battery operated smoke detectors. These homes require the 10 year sealed battery devices.
Enforcing the New Regulations
When you either sell or rent a property, a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is required. In addition a new tenant will also require the new CO. To obtain the new CO, an official from the town inspects the property. The inspection process can vary for each town. However, the fire inspection is always part of the process. During the CO inspection, the fire inspector makes sure that the proper class fire extinguisher is present and functional. The inspector will test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors for both proper location and operation.
Read the requirements when applying for the Certificate of Occupancy. If you fail inspection because of the wrong smoke detector or fire extinguisher,you may be charged for a second inspection. The application instructions will state the proper style of smoke detector you’ll need.
Any questions about the new smoke detector law, contact us.
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