Which Smoke Detector Should I Buy?

Smoke detectors are an important safety feature in our homes. It is estimated that 900 lives could be saved each year if every home had working smoke detectors. It comes as little surprise then that the State of North Carolina requires smoke detectors in occupied residences. But what types of smoke detectors are required? When are they required? Who enforces these requirements? Surprisingly, the regulation of smoke detectors is somewhat complex. The North Carolina Residential Building Code has very specific smoke detector regulations. There are also smoke detector regulations found in Chapter 42 of the North Carolina General Statutes applicable to landlords. Additionally, municipalities across the State have implemented minimum housing codes that regulate smoke detectors. These regulations often overlap and sometimes appear to conflict. There is no doubt that the safety a smoke detector provides is a worthwhile investment. However, with so many types of smoke detectors and so many different regulations, how does an individual decide which smoke detector will comply with all of the applicable laws? Equally important, how does a code enforcement officer, whose job it is to make the sure building codes are enforced, know which smoke detector is required?

If you have a question about smoke detector regulations or would like to receive an overview of smoke detector regulations in North Carolina, free of charge, please send me an e-mail at drief@cauleypridgen.com.

David is a licensed attorney, licensed home inspector, and former building inspector. His areas of practice include Land Use, Real Estate, Construction, and Municipal Law.

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