Building Safety Series: Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If your house is 10 or more years old and you’ve had smoke detectors installed for that time or longer, you may not have heard the “end of life” chirping reminding you to change the battery. The reason may be that the detector died and installing a new battery won’t revive it. The lifespan of older smoke detectors is 10 years or less, and then they should be replaced.
Upgraded smoke alarms must comply with minimum specified standards. Iowa law mandates the use of a dual sensor alarm device and heavily emphasizes having interconnected smoke alarm system with all detector devices tied together. This can be done by hard wiring all devices with a communication wire. Combination smoke and carbon detectors are acceptable in lieu of the dual sensor requirement. As well, radio frequency connection may be accepted in some retrofit projects if wring is deemed to be an extensive measure. However, it is never acceptable to remove required hard-wired smoke alarms and replace them with any type of battery-only operated device. Furthermore, the law states that smoke detectors should from now on be replaced every 10 years or less or if the manufacture date can’t be determined.
Dwelling units with a gas fired appliance, such as a gas water heater, or an attached garage are required to have a carbon monoxide detector installed in the immediate vicinity of all sleeping areas. For example, one detector installed in the hallway outside bedrooms would suffice for all bedrooms served by that hallway. This code requirement will soon be enforced on all rental properties in the city of Marion. Please feel free to contact the City of Marion’s Building Department with any questions you may have regarding smoke alarms and or systems’ installations.
There is a proven record that smoke alarms do save lives.