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Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detector Inspections

If you are a realtor or homeowner, and you are selling a home, part of the process will include having the smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide detectors (if required) inspected and signed off by the fire department.  Massachusetts General Law Chapter 148, Section 26F requires that all resale of property transactions be issued a Certificate of Compliance by the local fire department stating that the smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide detectors are present, correct, and functioning at the home at the time of the resale.

Selling a home is huge process, and as always, we are here to assist homeowners and realtors in obtaining the Certificate of Compliance by making the procedure as easy as possible.  If you have any questions, we will be glad to discuss what your home will need before scheduling an inspection.  The Brewster Fire Department is also glad to perform site visits to homes, should the realtor or homeowner have questions or concerns before the inspection

Below is some general information about smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors and some things to consider when getting ready to sell your home:

  • The age of the home being sold will determine the requirements for locations and quantities of smoke detectors throughout the home.
  • Any smoke detectors that are 10 years of age or older, will need to be replaced with new detectors. Carbon Monoxide detectors must not be older than 5 years.
    • If you must replace detectors that are hard-wired, a detector with a battery back-up system is highly recommended (that way if the power goes out, the detectors will still function normally)
    • Combination smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors are available at most hardware stores and home centers.
  • It should be understood that even though age determines what type of smoke detectors a home has, a seller must maintain the same level of protection that is currently installed the home
    • For example, if a home was built in 1954 and is only required to have battery operated detectors by code, but contains smoke and heat detectors that are hard-wired to the electrical system, the seller must continue use of the hard-wired system, and upgrade it as may be required.
  • Carbon Monoxide detectors are required in any home that contains fossil fuel burning appliances, heating systems, fireplaces/woodstoves, gas-powered fireplaces, etc.
    • Natural gas, Oil, Propane, Wood, Pellets, and Coal are all fuels which release Carbon Monoxide during the burning process
  • Carbon Monoxide detectors are also required if the home has an attached garage.

ü  Even if the home has electric heat and appliances, cars produce Carbon Monoxide, and detectors are required

  • Carbon Monoxide detectors are required on all habitable levels of a home.
    • Finished basements are required to have Carbon Monoxide detectors
    • Detectors must be placed within 10 feet of bedrooms
    • Plug-in style detectors or battery powered detectors are acceptable, unless the home is new enough to require they be hard-wired

Additional information is available about smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors, as well as the code requirements for properly selecting, placing, and installing the detectors.  This information can be obtained at the fire station during business hours of Monday-Friday 8am-4pm.  Any questions can be directed to the fire prevention bureau by phone at (508) 896-7018.

The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services website also has information regarding smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide detectors: