Whether you are living in your home, buying, or selling a home, you want to keep your family safe and comply with the codes. Many people are simply not aware of the requirements for alarms in a home, and it can get confusing.
There are really five areas of concern:
1: Age. Alarms are only good for 8-10 years. Make sure your alarms are current. If not, replace them. Even if you are selling the home, you'll take that one item off the list that a home inspector will (should) catch.
2: Non-Functioning: I see many alarms that simply are not operating, which really is inexcusable in any home. Either the battery or the electrical wire has been removed (as with the photo above). This really is a sign that the alarm was probably beeping (probably old) and the owner didn't know what to do. Also, test them monthly as they state; your life could depend on it!
4: Painted Over: All smoke and CO alarms state "do not paint", but some people don't take the time to read; they simply spray the ceiling. If your alarm has been painted over, replace it.
5: Compliance: There are requirements of where smoke and CO alarms are to be placed in the home and what is required depending on the age of the home. I'm not going to copy & paste a ton of legal information, but simply give you a link to the best information, which is from the MN Fire Marshal's Office. It's very easy to read and will give you the best information. You can find it on the Pinnacle website under the "Resources/Links"tab at http://www.pinnacle-inspections.com/links.html
Keep yourself and your family safe. Maintain your smoke & CO alarms regularly.
ASHI Certified, Pinnacle Inspections strives to give our clients the best reporting and advice. They regularly ask "how" to get things done, and hopefully we can share some useful tips or products on this blog.