Did you know that as of January 1, 2018 Maryland law requires the replacement of all BATTERY-ONLY operated smoke alarms with tamper resistant units incorporating a silence/hush button and life-long batteries? Read Maryland’s updated law here.

If you are using “old” smoke alarms with 9-volt batteries, you are not in compliance with the new law. The intent of the new Smoke Alarm Law is to transition away from smoke alarms with 9-volt batteries, as these batteries can be easily removed and not replaced resulting in loss of life. The new sealed smoke alarms have long-life batteries and a hush feature allowing you to temporarily silence an alarm due to a non-emergency activation (think cooking!), with the alarm automatically resetting after a few minutes.

new smoke alarm law wants to transition away from 9-volt battery alarms pictured above

The new law also intends to achieve more reliable smoke alarm coverage in older dwellings. Smoke alarm requirements are based on when a house was built and specific statutory and code requirements. Not sure where smoke alarms should be located – check out the handy matrix here.

As real estate agents, we’ve been counseling our property sellers about smoke alarms as they are required by Montgomery County Code to have both working smoke alarms and to be in compliance with the new 2018 law when they sell their home.

That being said to comply with the law and in the interest of safety, all property owners should install the new sealed alarms. You upgrade your phone and other technology – why use outdated fire alarms when new and better technology is now available?

If you want expert guidance, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) offers free home safety checks; you can request an appointment through their web form here.

While replacing your existing alarms with the new sealed smoke alarms will cost you out-of-pocket now, you should save money over the expected 10-year life of the device as you no longer need to purchase new batteries each year. And won’t you be happy to not hear the alarm chirping at 3am as you try to find those 9-volt batteries?

Be safe – please install new smoke alarms!