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Can the smoke sensors in a home security/fire alarm system replace the smoke alarms required by the building code?
Thursday, June 21, 2018
A residential security/fire alarm system can replace the smoke alarms required by the building code under these conditions:
- Provides the same level of smoke detection and alarm as required by the building code for smoke alarms.
- Permanently installed and owned by the homeowner (not rented).
- Monitored by an approved supervising station and maintained in accordance with NFPA 72.
“NFPA 72” is a national standard for fire alarm systems issued by the National Fire Protection Association and updated every three years. Here’s the full text of the applicable section of the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC):
The International Residential Code (IRC) is similar, and the exception noted at the end of the citation above essentially indicates that a security/fire alarm system does not have to meet these standards if the code-required smoke alarm system remains in place.
There are no test buttons on most security/fire alarm smoke sensors and, because home inspectors do not test or evaluate these systems, we cannot determine whether the sensors are still functional, whether the system is owned or rented, or if central system monitoring is active.
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