New NYS Law
Requires Smoke Detector Upgrades by
April 1, 2019
All smoke detectors sold in New York State AFTER April 1, 2019, are required to be powered by a 10-year, sealed, non-removable battery, or hardwired (with battery back up) to the home.
This does not affect your currently installed smoke detectors.
Important to note, smoke detectors have an estimated life of around 10 years before they become unreliable.
Breakdown of the new smoke alarm requirements for homes
Effective April 1, 2019, a new NY State law requires all NEW or REPLACEMENT smoke detectors in New York State to be powered by a 10-year, sealed, non-removable battery, or hardwired to the home.
According to NYS Law 399-ccc: "It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to distribute, sell, offer for sale, or import any battery operated smoke detecting alarm device powered by a replaceable or removable battery not capable of powering such device for a minimum of ten years."
Homeowners and landlords must upgrade their smoke detectors before selling or renting homes and apartments in New York State.
While these 10-year smoke detectors have a larger upfront cost than traditional alarms powered by replaceable batteries (approximately $20 per unit) the lack of yearly battery changes makes them cheaper over the life of the device.
As with ALL smoke detectors, the Hamburg Fire Chiefs Association recommends that the 10-year sealed smoke alarms still be tested at least monthly using the button on the front of the unit to ensure they are working properly.
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need to replace the alarms I have installed already?
You are not required to immediately replace your current smoke detectors, but any that are replaced or added after April 1st are required to be 10-year battery powered or hardwired. After this date, traditional removable battery smoke alarms will be unavailable for purchase in NY State.
Are they more expensive than non-sealed alarms?
Up front? Yes. In the long term? No. Most 10-year sealed smoke alarms range in price from roughly $20-$30, making their initial investment higher than a non-sealed alarm, but non-sealed alarms require annual battery changes. The cost of these replacement batteries average $38 over their 10-year life span, meaning they ultimately cost more than the sealed version.
Do they really last 10 years?
Yes they should and according to the manufacturers, they do. But, we still recommend that you test the alarm monthly and replace when the "end of life" or trouble alarm activates and notifies you there is a problem with the alarm. With the new sealed lithium batteries (included),they will never have to be replaced throughout the life of the alarm, giving you a decade of peace of mind even in the event of a power outage
Will I activate the alarm when I'm cooking something?
No. There are 10-year sealed alarms specifically designed for the kitchen with advanced sensors that can tell the difference between cooking smoke and real fire.
Why did the law change to require these upgrades?
The dangerous habit of disabling or removing smoke detectors after an accidental alarm while cooking is a major part of why this new legislation went into effect, so alarm manufacturers considered this issue in the design of 10-year sealed alarms. You are very likely to experience less nuisance alarms than you did with your traditional battery alarm.
Are 10-year sealed smoke alarms better than hard-wired smoke alarms?
There are advantages to both systems. Hard-wired smoke alarms tie into your home's wiring and require professional installation, but also are required by NY State codes to have a battery back up feature. When the battery wears out in a 10-year sealed alarm, the entire unit must be replaced, which helps prevent outdated units from staying in operation.
What about landlords and their rental properties?
10-year sealed alarms offer security and convenience to landlords, who are legally required by New York State to provide smoke detectors in their rental properties. The tamper-proof design of these alarms prevents tenants from removing the batteries due to nuisance alarms, or to use the batteries for another purpose. The 10-year lifespan of these lithium batteries mean fewer changes, and less equipment updates. Overall, there is a lesser chance of equipment failure in the event of a fire
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