New York state adopted a new law that changes requirement for residential smoke detectors, effective April 1st of this year. The change in law has received lots of attention from the media, much of which is full of incorrect information. I wanted to clarify here what the new law means to Buffalo and Western New York homeowners and buyers.
I wanted to read the law for myself, but surprisingly it was tricky to locate.
1. It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to distribute, sell, offer for sale, or import any solely battery operated smoke detecting alarm device powered by a replaceable, removable battery. All solely battery operated smoke detecting alarm devices that are distributed, sold, offered for sale, or imported, shall employ a non-removable, non-replaceable battery that powers the device for a minimum of ten years.
2. All product packaging containing a solely battery operated smoke detecting alarm device shall include the following information:
(a) the manufacturer’s name or registered trademark and the model number of the smoke detecting alarm device; and
(b) that such alarm device is designed to have a minimum battery life of ten years.
3. The provisions of this section shall not apply to solely battery operated smoke detecting alarm devices powered by a replaceable, removable battery that have been ordered by, or are in the inventory of, owners, managing agents, contractors, wholesalers or retailers on or before the effective date of this section. The provisions of this section shall not apply to smoke detecting alarm devices that receive their power from the electrical system of the building, fire alarm systems with smoke detectors, fire alarm devices that connect to a panel, devices that use a low-power radio frequency wireless communication signal, or such other devices as the state fire administrator shall designate through its regulatory process.
No – Contrary to much of the media coverage of the change in law, you do not have to replace all of your smoke alarms with right now. The law only applies to new battery-powered smoke alarms, contrary to what you may have heard on the radio, seen on TV or read on Twitter.
No – It only affects smoke alarms
I am a big fan of modern smoke alarms, and highly recommend to my clients that they replace all of them in a house with new ones that detect both smoke and carbon monoxide. I frequently find old, yellow, broken smoke detectors during home inspections. I rarely find them installed in all of the recommended locations. The way I see it, if the fire detector looks old then in the interest of life safety it would be best to replace it.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that smoke alarms are installed on every level of a house, including the basement, and outside of every bedroom.
The National Fire Protection Association chimes in here as well, and recommends that “CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or
Unless you live in a 100% electric home (having zero carbon-burning appliances), I would invest in combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. A couple products to consider are the Nest Protect ($110) and the Kiddie Worry-Free($69) models.