The laws regarding smoke detectors are simple. If you live in the U.S., then the law requires smoke detectors. That means that everyone must have (at least) one. Almost all states require hardwired smoke detectors to be installed in all new construction.
Some states have more strict requirements for smoke detectors. Iowa, for example, requires that all battery-powered smoke detectors have a 10-year sealed battery in single-family and two-family homes and townhouses. California requires smoke detectors in all bedrooms and hallways on each level of a house.
Fires destroy property, and in the worst scenarios, fires kill. When it comes to the most deadly of fires, residential fires lead the way - and it isn't even close.
According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration, residential fires are the leading fire damage loss, being responsible for damages totaling over $8.6 billion nationwide in 2020. Residential fires are also the leading cause of fire-related injuries, accounting for nearly 77% of all fire-related injuries. Though the number of injuries decreased in 2020, there were still 11,825 injuries due to residential fires.
Lastly, and most gravely, residential fires are responsible for more than 72% of all fire deaths. There were 2,615 residential fire deaths in 2020. It is numbers like these that also help explain why smoke detector laws apply to every state. The same can't be said for carbon monoxide detectors yet, but we are getting closer.
Dubbed the "silent killer," there was no humor intended when talking about the issue of carbon monoxide poisoning. As many are already aware, carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that prevents the body from getting oxygen. Without detection, a problem with carbon monoxide gas can become deadly.
Many sources can be the cause of carbon monoxide poisoning too. Most of those sources are also everyday items that we use regularly in our homes. That includes sources like furnaces and water heaters, electric space heaters, generators, and even our vehicles. This potential for such a deadly and announced threat is also why there has been such a push for states to mandate carbon monoxide detector laws.
Many states, however, require carbon monoxide detectors in all new home builds but do not have the same requirement for existing structures. The good news is the message is out and action is being taken. It seems only a matter of time before carbon monoxide detectors, like smoke detectors and alarms, become law for every building in every state.
Smoke Detectors In Residential Dwellings
Hardwired With Battery Back Up
UL Listed Detectors
NFPA 72 Compliant Install
|Arizona||Required||Required||Required||Required||Required||Phoenix city ordinance G-5898-2014 specifies that a smoke alarm cannot remain in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture. Smoke alarms are permitted to be solely battery-operated in existing buildings where no construction is taking place, provided the smoke alarm is UL-listed with a sealed 10-year lithium battery. As of April 2014, homeowners must install 10-year, sealed-battery smoke alarms when replacing outdated, missing, or damaged units|
|California||See Additional Info||Required||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||Required in: one- or two-unit dwellings, lodging houses, apartment complexes, hotels, motels, condominiums, stock cooperatives, time-share projects, dwelling units of a multiple-unit dwelling complexes, and factory-built housing. No person shall market, distribute, offer for sale, or sell any smoke alarm that is not operated by a non-replaceable, non-removable battery that is capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 years. All used manufactured homes, used mobile homes, and used multifamily manufactured homes that are sold or rented on or after January 1, 2020, are required to be equipped with smoke alarms.|
|Colorado||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||Smoke alarms must be installed before the sale or transfer of the home.|
|District of Columbia||Required||Required||Required||Required||Required|
|Florida||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||Smoke alarms must be installed before the sale or transfer of the home.|
|Georgia||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||Smoke alarms must be installed before the sale or transfer of the home. Existing battery-powered smoke alarms in multifamily housing must be replaced by 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms when the device is no longer operational, is 10 years older than the date of manufacture, or there is no manufacture date on the device.|
|Illinois||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||Existing battery-powered smoke alarms must be replaced by 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms when the device is no longer operational, is 10 years older than the date of manufacture, or there is no manufacture date on the device.|
|Indiana||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||Battery-powered smoke alarms in hotels and motels must contain a tamper-proof battery.|
|Iowa||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||Battery-powered smoke alarms in hotels and motels must contain a tamper-proof battery. Smoke alarms will no longer be required to have a dual sensor (ionization and photoelectric) and all battery-powered smoke alarms must contain a tamper-proof battery that lasts for at least 10 years.|
|Kansas||Required||See Additional Info||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||In lodging establishments (boarding houses, bed & breakfast, etc.), if a battery-operated detector is not operational for two consecutive tests, the licensee shall install a detector that is hardwired with a battery backup|
|Louisiana||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||At the time of sale or lease, one/two-family homes must be equipped with, at a minimum, an operable ten-year, sealed lithium battery smoke alarm.|
|Maine||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||A landlord may install 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms if the unit is a single-family dwelling.|
|Maryland||Required||Required||Required||Required||Required||Battery-powered smoke alarms must be replaced by 10-year sealed battery smoke alarms. Sales of battery-powered smoke alarms are restricted to alarms with a 10-year sealed battery. Smoke alarms shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 72 (2013 ed.).|
|Massachusetts||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||Battery-powered smoke alarms are required to contain a 10-year tamper-proof battery. Additional smoke alarms, beyond those required, do not need to contain a 10-year tamper-proof battery.|
|Missouri||Required||Not Required||Required||Not Required||Not Required||There is no statewide fire or building code in Missouri. Codes are adopted at the local level|
|New Hampshire||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required|
|New Jersey||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||Battery-powered smoke alarms must contain a 10-year sealed battery. Before a one- or two-family home is sold, leased, or otherwise transferred, the owner shall obtain a certificate of smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, and portable fire extinguisher compliance.|
|New Mexico||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required|
|New York||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||Sales of battery-powered smoke alarms are restricted to alarms with a 10-year sealed battery.|
|North Carolina||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||When installing or replacing a battery-powered smoke alarm, a landlord shall install a tamper-resistant, 10-year lithium battery smoke alarm.|
|North Dakota||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required|
|Ohio||Required||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||A smoke alarm utilizing photoelectric and ionization technologies on each level within each dwelling unit. A smoke alarm in each sleeping room. A smoke alarm that includes photoelectric technology outside each separate sleeping area, such as in the corridors in the immediate vicinity of the sleeping rooms. A smoke alarm on the upper level of dwellings or dwelling units with split levels without an intervening door between the adjacent levels shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level.|
|Oregon||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required||Ionization smoke alarms that are solely battery-operated must be equipped with a 10-year tamper-proof battery.|
|Rhode Island||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required|
|South Carolina||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required|
|South Dakota||Required||Required||Required||Required||Not Required|
|Texas||Required||Not Required||Required||Not Required||Not Required||There is no statewide fire or building code in Texas. Codes are adopted at the local level. Landlords are required to install smoke alarms in each sleeping room, corridors serving multiple sleeping rooms, and each level of a rental unit.|
|Vermont||Required||Required||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||Photo-electric only smoke alarms equipped with a 10-year sealed battery are required. landlords are required to install smoke alarms in each sleeping room, corridors serving multiple sleeping rooms, and each level of a rental unit.|
|Virginia||Required||Required||Required||Required||Required||Repair or replacement of smoke alarms shall be with devices listed in accordance with UL217 and that are no more than 10 years from the date of manufacture. Battery-only powered devices shall be powered by a 10-year sealed battery|
|Washington||See Additional Info||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||Required in rental housing occupied by persons other than the owner on or after December 31, 1981; built or manufactured in the state after December 31, 1980; or Sold on or after July 1, 2019|
|West Virginia||Required||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||Required||Smoke alarms are required to be installed in the immediate vicinity of each sleeping area in all residential one- and two-family dwellings, including manufactured homes. Residential dwellings occupied by a deaf or hearing impaired individual other than the owner; must be equipped with a smoke detector with a light signal upon written request.|
|Wisconsin||Required||Required||Not Required||Not Required||Not Required||Smoke alarms must be hardwired with battery back-up placed on each level including the basement, inside each sleeping area or in the hallway within 21 feet of the sleeping area if multiple bedrooms are on the level.|