New rules about smoke detectors are starting to affect home sales. The big difference is in the lifespan of the batteries.
Affecting Home Sales
Now, before you start to panic, this is not a catastrophe which will make you unable to sell your home. It’s more of a speed bump in the road. What hasn’t changed is that you’ll still need to get the Certificate of Occupancy you’ll need in order to close the sale. What has changed is the smoke detectors themselves. And, under some circumstances, you’ll need the new smoke detectors in order to get the Certificate of Occupancy.
First – if your home was built between 1978 and 1984, the smoke alarm on your ceiling may or may not be hard wired, or powered by AC. If it’s hard wired, the battery is for backup only. The new rules do not apply to you.
Next – if your home was built after 1984, building codes required that the alarm is hard wired. Again the new rules do not apply to you.
However, if your home was built before 1978, the new rules do apply to you.
What are the new rules?
The new rules require a battery which will last for 10 years. As a result, you’ll never need to change the battery in your smoke detector. In fact, you can’t. You will need to replace the battery operated smoke alarm(s) every ten years. However, this makes sense.
Fire officials have long been saying that a large percentage of homes which suffer major fire damage, and possibly loss of life, had smoke alarms which were either past their operable life expectancy, which is 10 years, or had no batteries at all. Avoiding these events is the impetus behind the new rules.
Do they cost more?
From what I’m seeing, the cost of the smoke detectors with 10 year batteries is about the same, maybe a little more. However, you won’t need to spend money on replacing the batteries. This also means you cannot take the batteries from the smoke detector to power a transistor radio or a flashlight.
Questions? Call me – Art Reiman – Realtor. I’ll explain the rules in more detail. Selling your home? Please call me – I can help you with that. call me.