Smoke Detector Requirements

Higher electricity use…live and plastic decorations inside our homes…oven use increased…away from our homes more…  This time of year is ripe for potential fires.  To clear up any confusion about smoke detector compliance requirements in the Half Moon Bay Coastside areas, here is what homeowners,  sellers and buyers need to know.

California law requires that every single-family dwelling and factory-built housing have operable smoke detectors that are approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal and installed in accordance with the State Fire Marshal’s regulations.  (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 13113.8.)

Locate them outside each sleeping area.  A two-story home with bedrooms upstairs and downstairs would need two smoke detectors, one in the hallway outside the bedrooms(s) upstairs and one in the hallway outside the bedroom(s) downstairs.

Also, any new construction, additions, alterations, and/or repairs after August 14, 1992 that exceeds $1,000 in cost and for which a permit is required, a smoke detector must be installed in each bedroom in addition to being centrally located in the corridor or area outside the bedroom.

For new construction only, the smoke detector must be hardwired with a battery backup. For all other homes, the smoke detector may be battery operated.  (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 13113.7.)

Point of Sale requires the seller to complete a smoke detector inspection ($25) and upon a successful inspection, the seller will be given a compliance form to provide to the buyer.  Your Realtor will take care of this.  Check with your Realtor, the local department of building and safety, and the Coastside Fire Protection District as you prepare your home for sale to discuss compliance questions.  Around the Coastside, smoke detectors can be found at either Hassett Hardware at 111 Main Street in Half Moon Bay or at El Granada Hardware at 85 Avenue Portola in El Granada (both stores are fun to browse and get a little local flavor).  (note:  at this time only Oceanshore/Ace carries both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; El Granada carries the smoke detectors).

Smoke Detector Installation Guide