smoke alarms santa clarita retrofitting

Smoke Alarm Requirements for Santa Clarita

If you follow the building codes like we do you would know that the rules for smoke alarm requirements within a building have changed drastically since they were first required in 1973.  Every few years the codes change and change for the better.  In 1988, only one smoke alarm was required on each floor. In 1991 the requirements changed to include one smoke alarm in each bedroom and in 2003 this changed to one inside as well as outside of the bedrooms to what we have today which is basically one in every hallway, floor level and bedroom and all of them hardwired and interconnected.

Senate Bill 745 was signed by Governor Brown and chaptered into law. The new law has some revised language to the current law that passed last year (SB 1394-Lowenthal). In order to list a smoke alarm in California, the new law requires the following:

Commencing July 1, 2014, all smoke alarms including combination smoke alarms, that are solely battery powered shall contain a nonreplaceable, nonremovable battery that is capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 years. Commencing January 1, 2015, all new listings of smoke alarms or combination smoke alarms shall display the date of manufacture, provide a place on the device where the date of installation can be written, and incorporate a hush feature. This requirement does not apply to existing listings for battery operated smoke alarms that meet the exception under Provision (1) which have been ordered by, or are in the inventory of, an owner, managing agent, contractor, wholesaler, or retailer on or before July 1, 2014. For the manufacturers, effective July 1, 2015, all smoke alarms (120 VAC hardwired or battery operated) must comply with Provision (2) which shall display the date of manufacture, provide a place on the device where the date of installation can be written, and incorporate a hush feature. Effective July 1, 2015, all battery operated smoke alarms must also comply with Provision (1) which shall contain a nonreplaceable, nonremovable battery that is capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 years. It would also require that for all dwelling units intended for human occupancy, for which a building permit is issued on or after January 1, 2014, for alterations, repairs, or additions exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), the permit issuer shall not sign off on the completion of work until the permittee demonstrates that all smoke alarms required for the dwelling unit are devices approved and listed by the Office of the State Fire Marshal pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 13114. The law also requires that by January 1, 2016, owners of a dwelling unit intended for human occupancy in which one or more units is rented or leased shall install additional smoke alarm, as needed, to ensure that smoke alarms are located in compliance with current building standards. Existing alarms installed need not be replaced unless the alarm is inoperable. Smoke detectors, shall be mounted on the ceiling or wall of each existing room used for sleeping purposes and at a point centrally located on the wall or ceiling of the existing corridor or area giving access to these rooms. Where a dwelling unit has more than one story or where a dwelling unit has a basement, a detector shall be installed on each story or basement. Smoke detectors may be battery operated in Single Family Dwellings only. Smoke detectors in Three Unit or More Dwellings, Condominiums and Apartments shall be hard wired and be equipped with a battery backup (Hard wired detectors installed prior to May 11, 1999 DO NOT require battery backup). Please refer to the actual code section listed below and all manufactures requirements for location and type of smoke detectors required. (Section 91.8603 L.A.M.C. – Effective Aug 1, 1980)

Lets see what the new NFPA 72 has to say… (and they have a lot to say)

29.2* Fire-warning equipment for residential occupancies shall provide a reliable means to notify the occupants of the presence of a threatening fire and the need to escape to a place of safety before such escape might be impeded by untenable conditions in the normal path of egress.

 Required Detection.

29.5.1.1 (1)* In all sleeping rooms and guest rooms (2)* Outside of each separate dwelling unit sleeping area, within 21 ft (6.4 m) of any door to a sleeping room, with the distance measured along a path of travel (3)On every level of a dwelling unit, including basements (4)*On every level of a residential board and care occupancy (small facility), including basements and excluding crawl spaces and unfinished attics (5)* In the living area(s) of a guest suite (6)In the living area(s) of a residential board and care occupancy (small facility)
29.5.1.3.1* All points on the ceiling shall have a smoke alarm within a distance of 30 ft (9.1 m) travel distance or shall have an equivalent of one smoke alarm per 500 ft2 (46 m2) of floor area. One smoke alarm per 500 ft2 (46 m2) is evaluated by dividing the total interior square footage of floor area per level by 500 ft2 (46 m2).
29.5.1.3.2 Where dwelling units include great rooms or vaulted/cathedral ceilings extending over multiple floors, smoke alarms located on the upper floor that are intended to protect the aforementioned area shall be permitted to be considered as part of the lower floor(s) protection scheme used to meet the requirements of 29.5.1.3.1.

Power Supplies.

(1)A commercial light and power source along with a secondary power source that is capable of operating the device for at least 7 days in the normal condition, followed by 4 minutes of alarm (2)If a commercial light and power source is not normally available, a noncommercial ac power source along with a secondary power source that is capable of operating the device for at least 7 days in the normal condition, followed by 4 minutes of alarm (3)A nonrechargeable, nonreplaceable primary battery that is capable of operating the device for at least 10 years in the normal condition, followed by 4 minutes of alarm, followed by 7 days of trouble (4)If a battery primary power supply is specifically permitted, a battery meeting the requirements of 29.6.6 (nonrechargeable primary battery) or the requirements of 29.6.7 (rechargeable primary battery) (5)A suitable spring-wound mechanism for the nonelectrical portion of a listed single-station alarm with a visible indication to show that sufficient operating power is not available AC primary (main) power shall be supplied either from a dedicated branch circuit or the unswitched portion of a branch circuit also used for power and lighting. Operation of a switch (other than a circuit breaker) shall not cause loss of primary (main) power. Operation of a ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) receptacle shall not cause loss of primary (main) power. Smoke alarms powered by branch circuits protected by arc-fault circuit-interrupters (AFCI) or GFCI circuit breakers shall have a secondary power source.
29.8.3* Smoke Alarms and Smoke Detectors. Smoke alarms, smoke detectors, devices, combination of devices, and equipment shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s listing and published instructions, and, unless specifically listed for the application, shall comply with requirements in 29.8.3.1 through 29.8.3.4.
Specific Location Requirements. The installation of smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall comply with the following requirements: 29.8.3.1* Peaked Ceilings. Smoke alarms or smoke detectors mounted on a peaked ceiling shall be located within 36 in. (910 mm) horizontally of the peak, but not closer than 4 in. (100 mm) vertically to the peak. 29.8.3.2* Sloped Ceilings. Smoke alarms or smoke detectors mounted on a sloped ceiling having a rise greater than 1 ft in 8 ft (1 m in 8 m) horizontally shall be located within 36 in. (910 mm) of the high side of the ceiling, but not closer than 4 in. (100 mm) from the adjoining wall surface. 29.8.3.3* Wall Mounting. Smoke alarms or smoke detectors mounted on walls shall be located not farther than 12 in. (300 mm) from the adjoining ceiling surface. (1)Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be located where ambient conditions, including humidity and temperature, are outside the limits specified by the manufacturer’s published instructions. (2)Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be located within unfinished attics or garages or in other spaces where temperatures can fall below 40°F (4°C) or exceed 100°F (38°C). (3)* Where the mounting surface could become considerably warmer or cooler than the room, such as a poorly insulated ceiling below an unfinished attic or an exterior wall, smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall be mounted on an inside wall. (4)* Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be installed within an area of exclusion determined by a 10 ft (3.0 m) radial distance along a horizontal flow path from a stationary or fixed cooking appliance, unless listed for installation in close proximity to cooking appliances. Smoke alarms and smoke detectors installed between 10 ft (3.0 m) and 20 ft (6.1 m) along a horizontal flow path from a stationary or fixed cooking appliance shall be equipped with an alarm-silencing means or use photoelectric detection. Exception: Smoke alarms or smoke detectors that use photoelectric detection shall be permitted for installation at a radial distance greater than 6 ft (1.8 m) from any stationary or fixed cooking appliance when the following conditions are met: (a)The kitchen or cooking area and adjacent spaces have no clear interior partitions or headers and (b)The 10 ft (3.0 m) area of exclusion would prohibit the placement of a smoke alarm or smoke detector required by other sections of this code. (5)Effective January 1, 2019, smoke alarms and smoke detectors used in household fire alarm systems installed between 6 ft (1.8 m) and 20 ft (6.1 m) along a horizontal flow path from a stationary or fixed cooking appliance shall be listed for resistance to common nuisance sources from cooking. (6)* Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be installed within a 36 in. (910 mm) horizontal path from a door to a bathroom containing a shower or tub unless listed for installation in close proximity to such locations. (7)Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be installed within a 36 in. (910 mm) horizontal path from the supply registers of a forced air heating or cooling system and shall be installed outside of the direct airflow from those registers. (8)Smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall not be installed within a 36 in. (910 mm) horizontal path from the tip of the blade of a ceiling-suspended (paddle) fan. (9)Where stairs lead to other occupiable levels, a smoke alarm or smoke detector shall be located so that smoke rising in the stairway cannot be prevented from reaching the smoke alarm or smoke detector by an intervening door or obstruction. (10)For stairways leading up from a basement, smoke alarms or smoke detectors shall be located on the basement ceiling near the entry to the stairs. (11)* For tray-shaped ceilings (coffered ceilings), smoke alarms and smoke detectors shall be installed on the highest portion of the ceiling or on the sloped portion of the ceiling within 12 in. (300 mm) vertically down from the highest point. (12)Smoke alarms and detectors installed in rooms with joists or beams shall comply with the requirements of 17.7.3.2.4. (13)Heat alarms and detectors installed in rooms with joists or beams shall comply with the requirements of 17.6.3.

What does the California Building Code Say About Interconnection?

R314.5 Interconnection. Where more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling or sleeping unit, the smoke alarms shall be interconnected in such a manner that the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. The alarm shall be clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed. Exceptions: 1. Interconnection is not required in buildings that are not undergoing alterations, repairs or construction of any kind. 2. Smoke alarms in existing areas are not required to be interconnected where alterations or repairs do not result in the removal of interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available which could provide access for interconnection without the removal of interior finishes

Mazza Inspection Group