How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

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Is there a Florida law that all older homes must have smoke alarms, regardless of when they were built?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

No, everyone is not required by Florida law to have smoke alarms in their homes—even though that's an excellent idea. There has been some confusion, because a Florida statute that went into effect a few years ago requires that, when replacing any existing battery-powered smoke alarm that has a replaceable battery, or installing a new battery-powered smoke alarm, the new smoke alarm must only have a 10-year non-replaceable battery. No more smoke alarms with replaceable batteries are allowed. But it does not mean that every home is mandated to a smoke alarm.

   Here’s the text of of the new Florida Statute, effective 1/1/2015, which is also in the Florida Building Code, Existing Buildings, at 603.2, with the relevant text underlined :

553.883Smoke alarms in one-family and two-family dwellings and townhomes.
—One-family and two-family dwellings and townhomes undergoing a repair, or a level 1 alteration as defined in the Florida Building Code, may use smoke alarms powered by 10-year nonremovable, nonreplaceable batteries in lieu of retrofitting such dwelling with smoke alarms powered by the dwelling’s electrical system. Effective January 1, 2015, a battery-powered smoke alarm that is newly installed or replaces an existing battery-powered smoke alarm must be powered by a nonremovable, nonreplaceable battery that powers the alarm for at least 10 years. The battery requirements of this section do not apply to a fire alarm, smoke detector, smoke alarm, or ancillary component that is electronically connected as a part of a centrally monitored or supervised alarm system. 

    To learn more, go to our blog post What does the new Florida smoke alarm law require? 

    Also, see our blog posts Is it illegal to disconnect a smoke alarm? and Where should smoke alarms NOT be installed? and Does pushing the test button on a smoke alarm test the smoke sensor device inside? and Can the smoke sensors in a home security/fire alarm system replace the smoke alarms required by the building code? 

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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about SAFETY:

What is the best place to install carbon monoxide alarms (CO detectors) in a house? 

Why is it important to use "cabinet screws" to mount the upper cabinets in the kitchen?

Is the door between an attached garage and the house required to have a closer (self-closing device)?

Can the smoke sensors in a home security/fire alarm system replace the smoke alarms required by the building code?

Should I get a lightning rod system to protect my house? 

What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

What is aging in place? 

How do I safely remove a dead rodent (rat, mouse or squirrel) from the attic?

Does pushing the test button on a smoke alarm test the smoke sensor device inside? 

What is the minimum height of a ceiling fan above the floor?

Should a smoke alarm be installed in the kitchen? 

Why is a double cylinder deadbolt lock on an exterior door a safety hazard?

Why are rubber washing machine hoses a safety risk?

What can I do to avoid kitchen accidents and injuries?

Where are smoke alarms required to be located? 

Are carbon monoxide alarms required to be installed in homes in Florida?

Are old vinyl tile floors dangerous?  

How can I use safety checks to limit my tenant liability for a rental house?

Do you inspect for trip hazards around the home? 

When should I replace my smoke alarms?

• Why is an anti-tip device now required behind the range? 

• What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic? 

What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

      Visit our SAFETY page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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