Smoke Alarm Requirements in Pre-1975 Built Homes Modified

Beginning December 1, older one- and two-family homes cannot be sold with expired or out-of-date smoke alarms. The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations has revised the State Fire Code to require that one- and two-family homes built before 1975 must have working smoke alarms that have not expired.


Most manufacturers of smoke alarms indicate they have a service life of about ten years and recommend replacement after that because the sensing technology deteriorates over time. This revision to the State Regulations will ensure that older homes remain protected by smoke detectors that will meet manufacturer’s recommendations and activate during a fire incident in your home.


New Requirements When Replacing Alarms

When replacing expired alarms, the regulations require the new alarms be photoelectric with a hush button feature to silence nuisance alarms. Intensifying smoke will override the hush feature. Alarms can be photoelectric alone, or in combination with ionization technology. They may also provide smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detection in the same device (combination type).


The biggest change is that replacement battery powered alarms will have to have a 10-year, sealed, non-replaceable, non-rechargeable battery. These batteries won’t ever have to be changed for the life of the smoke alarm. The entire unit, the smoke alarm and the battery, will need to be replaced at the end of ten years, and the alarm will give you an end-of-life warning.


Guide for Homeowners and Realtors

The Brewster Fire Department has posted an updated version of the requirements on our website at under the “fire Prevention” tag at the top of the home page. Anyone requiring further information may call Fire Headquarters at 508-896-7018 Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.