New Jersey smoke detector requirements changed this year and it’s a good thing. I’m writing this blog article because almost everyone I’ve bumped into knows nothing about this.
The Scope of Things
Smoke detectors are not required to be wired in to homes built before 1977. Doing a quick search in the New Jersey MLS, you find that around 65% of all single family homes on the market were built before 1977. My guess is that this is pretty representative of how things really are.
Doing a search for new construction finds that this is 12% of the inventory. What’s left is 23% of existing homes. Almost all of these homes, in my experience, do not have a wired in smoke alarm system. They are required to install one if they do a big enough renovation or expansion.
Of course there’s no way to know how many did. We have a big need need for 10 year sealed battery units because Bergen County is huge with over 948,000 residents.
The US Census says we have 357,520 housing units. This includes single family homes, apartments, multi family homes etc. As a result that’s a lot of housing potentially needing smoke detectors or a smoke alarm system if we use the NJMLS new homes 12%. Since we really can’t know for sure, if only half need smoke detectors that’s 178,760.
What Changed and Why
It seems that every week we see a news report about a massive fire. People are rescued, sent to shelters, helped by the Red Cross because they’ve lost everything, firemen get hurt etc. It happens all the time.
You also see reported that there were smoke detectors in the house but they weren’t working. Very often the reason they did not work is because the batteries had been removed. As a result of all this a change was needed.
As of Jan 1, 2019 the New Jersey State Building Code requires all residences built before 1977 to have 10 year sealed battery smoke detectors installed. In Bergen County this has now been expanded to all residences without a wired in smoke alarm system.
How This Affects You
If you are selling or renting a residential property, New Jersey requires a Fire Code Certificate. This requires battery operated or wired in smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors by bedrooms and a fire extinguisher near or in a kitchen. You can not use the less expensive units with batteries that lasted barely 1 year. New Jersey smoke detector requirements now mean a 10 year sealed battery unit if you don’t have a wired in system.
So how much more with this cost a property owner? Not a lot. It’s only a few dollars more per unit. This is well worth it because of the increased safety these units bring.
Get one of these new units and install it. Don’t gamble with your safety because the risk far outweighs the cost of a 10 year battery sealed smoke detector.
Need help? Just get in touch with me.