Fire/carbon monoxide detectors in Baltimore

15 Replies

What brand of self sealed fire/carbon monoxide detector are people buying for their Baltimore rentals. Can they be in each bedroom vs halkway. Do they have to be wired?

@Shadonna N.

Your nearest Lowes/Home Depot will have Fire/Carbon Monoxide detectors.  If you pay over 30$, you are wrong. They are all battery powered now, no wires! I believe in Maryland, you just need to have one per floor, I recommend installing them in hallways. Good luck and Go Orioles!

Thanks @Sean M.  Glad to know they don't have to be wired.

Costco usually has the cheapest option for this

I like THESE.

Combination smoke/CO alarm, 10-year battery...AND a cinch to put up!

In most counties in MD they have to be hard wired for all rentals. I was just advised this by a property manager i may be working with. Any feedback or further clarification please let me know. 

I just did a quick google search and Baltimore County requires all rentals to have hard-wired smoke detectors

In addition Baltimore REIA has an article which indicates that the city requires hard-wired smoke detectors as well:

If you read the Baltimore REIA article carefully it lays out when battery powered detectors must be upgraded to hard-wired but of course you should not solely rely on their article.

I read an article somewhere in that indicated the hardwire vs. battery operated requirement was also based on the age of the home and if there is new construction.

Supposed to be hard wired, one per floor. But Instead of trusting us, call baltimore housing and find out. As far as brand? They are all equally overpriced. 

They aren't that bad online. Yes they should be hardwired. Call an electrician and bite that bullet. It really does keep people safer so I don't mind so much. 

Disclaimer: I am not a professional electrician.

If the local requirements mean you need more than a couple of them, you can get multi-packs of them for a little bit cheaper.  I put 8 smoke alarms in my single-family rental - Lowe's sold a 6-pack of the model I used, and then I bought two more of the same model individually.

Also note that if wired detectors are required, they may not all have to be exactly the same model, but they do probably all need to be from the same manufacturer.  Wired smoke detectors are usually all interconnected, so if one smells smoke, the horns on all of them go off, but the signal that makes this happen is not standardized among manufacturers.  The instruction sheet will tell you which models can be interconnected, and you can often get that sheet as a PDF from the manufacturer's web site before you buy.

I've also seen a suggestion to make sure that wired smoke alarms are powered from a circuit that also has a light on it that is used relatively often - like the light over the stairs, or the front porch light, or similar.  That way, if the circuit breaker for that circuit pops for some reason, someone is more likely to notice it.

I hope this helps!

I believe the requirement is one smoke alarm per in each level and they have to be interconnected. One CO alarm outside all sleeping areas (bedrooms). I usually just install a CO/smoke combo on all floors while making sure they sleeping area one(s) cover all and that works just fine with the inspectors. I also think it is safer that way.

From the Office of the Fire Marshal City of Baltimore:

Maryland is the most recent state to require that homeowners:

1. Replace battery-only operated smoke alarms with units powered by sealed- in, ten-year/long- life batteries with a “silence/hush” feature.

2. Upgrade smoke alarm placement in existing residential occupancies to comply with minimum specified standards. These standards vary according to when the building was constructed. The deadline for compliance with the new law is January 1, 2018.

I don’t mess with this. If nothing happens, whatever you do is fine. But if something happens, you better have complied with the law here. 

I install all hard-wired interconnected dectectors with 10 year battery back up, sealed-in. I install one combo unit (CO and smoke) outside the sleeping areas and 1 storm detector per sleeping area.

Call te Fire Marshal Office, tell them what type of property you have, and they will tell you what you need to install. 

I received notice yesterday that effective 4/1/2018, wired interconnected smoke and CO alarms are not required on all levels (including accessible attic) in Baltimore County. My previous installations now seem to have become required.

I have a Section 8 inspection coming up on 4/2/2018 so I will see if they’d require me to install one in the attic.

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