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Does a home inspector test smoke alarms?
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Home inspectors must note the presence or absence of smoke alarms, but are not required to test them, according to the Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). The InterNACHI standard, for example, states both that “the inspector shall report on the absence of smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors” and “the inspector is not required to operate or test smoke or carbon monoxide detectors or alarms."
The State of Florida standard is not as clear about testing. The electrical section states simply that “electrical systems and components include the following: smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors” as required to be part of an inspection.
Even if the exlusion of testing smoke alarms is not stated directly in the home inspector’s contract agreement, one of the Standards of Practice mentioned above will be referenced as part of the contract agreement.
While the Standards of Practice set minimum standards, a home inspector may choose to exceed them and test the smoke alarms with the test button or artificial smoke, along with determining age, and verifying that they are interconnected if required. A combo smoke/CO alarm might be found at some locations, particularly the hall or access room to bedrooms in newer homes.
Also, the inspection may be limited to less than what is outlined in the standards when agreed to by the homebuyer and specified in an inspection agreement. A four-point insurance inspection would be example of a limited inspection.
Click on any of the links below to read other articles about what is required to be included, or not, in a home inspection:
AFCI •• Air conditioner •• Ants •• Appliance recalls •• Appliance testing •• Attic •• Awnings •• Barns and ag blgs. •• Bathroom exhaust fan •• Bonding •• Carpet •• Ceiling fans •• Central vacuum •• Chimneys •• Chinese drywall •• Clothes dryer •• Dryer exhaust •• CO alarms •• Code violations •• Condemn a house •• Crawl space •• Detached carport •• Detached garage •• Dishwasher •• Docks •• Doors •• Electrical •• Electrical panel •• Electromagnetic radiation •• Fences •• Fireplaces •• Furnace •• Furniture •• Garage door opener •• Garbage disposal •• Generator •• GFCIs •• Gutters •• Ice maker •• Inspect in the rain •• Insulation •• Insurance •• Interior Finishes •• Grading & drainage •• Lead paint •• Level of thoroughness •• Lift carpet •• Low voltage wiring •• Microwave •• Mold •• Move things •• Help negotiate •• Not allowed •• Outbuildings •• Paint •• Permits •• Pilot lights •• Plumbing •• Plumbing under slab •• Pools •• Questions won't answer •• Radon •• Range/cooktop •• Receptacle outlet •• Refrigerator •• Reinspection •• Remove panel cover •• Repairs •• Repair estimates •• Retaining walls •• Roaches •• Rodents •• Roof •• Screens •• Seawalls •• Septic loading dye test •• Septic tank •• Sewer lines •• Shower pan leak test •• Shutters •• Sinkholes •• Smoke alarms •• Solar panels •• Specify repairs •• Sprinklers •• Termites •• Toilets •• Trees •• Troubleshooting •• Wall air conditioners •• Walk roof •• Washing machine •• Water heater •• Water pressure •• Water shut-offs •• Main water shut-off •• Water softener •• Water treatment systems •• Well •• Windows •• Window air conditioners •• Window blinds •• Wiring
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Here’s links to a collection of some of our other blog posts about “SMOKE AND CO ALARMS":
• What is the best place to install carbon monoxide alarms (CO detectors) in a house?
• Can the smoke sensors in a home security/fire alarm system replace the smoke alarms required by the building code?
• Does pushing the test button on a smoke alarm test the smoke sensor device inside?
• Should a smoke alarm be installed in the kitchen?
• Where are smoke alarms required to be located?
• Are carbon monoxide alarms required to be installed in homes in Florida?
• When should I replace my smoke alarms?
• Does the Nest Protect system meet current building code standards for a combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm system?
• What does the new Florida smoke alarm law require?
• Is there a Florida law that all older homes must have smoke alarms, regardless of when they were built?
• Why are carbon monoxide (CO) alarms required by law for homes in Florida?
• When were smoke alarms first required to be interconnected?
• How can I tell the difference between a smoke detector and carbon monoxide (CO) detector?
• When were smoke detectors/alarms first required in Florida?
• What is the minimum height for placement of a CO alarm (carbon monoxide detector)?
• Where does the code require CO alarms (carbon monoxide detectors)?
• Is it illegal to disconnect a smoke alarm?
• Where should smoke alarms NOT be installed?
Visit our SAFETY and "DOES A HOME INSPECTOR…?” pages 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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