You should comply with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors requirements when you sell a house. Why? Because buyers want to get a safe home and you don’t want unneeded hassles and delays right before closing.
Note that house fires cause a yearly average of 2,620 deaths in the USA alone. Plus, carbon monoxide poisoning also causes thousands of people to be hospitalized each year; with an average of over 200 fatalities. No wonder why each state has a set of mandates regarding smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for house properties.
Now, what should you know about smoke and carbon monoxide alarms? What should you consider to avoid problems regarding these safety devices in the home you sell?
Sell a House with Proper Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Buyers want the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors already in place when they purchase a home, and having these devices ready will avoid delays.
Become Familiar with Your Local Requirements
Ask your realtor about the requirements for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your local area, because that might differ based on city or state.
For example, here in Michigan, you must install one smoke detector in each bedroom. One is required outside each separate bedroom, too. Plus, you must have smoke detectors in all additional but livable stories in the home; think of the attic and crawlspace.
You can do your homework by searching about these requirements, or talk with your real estate agent for more details.
Understand the Types of Smoke Detectors
When you learn the smoke detector requirements in your state or area, you’ll see there are different types of devices you can install.
Ionization Smoke Detectors
This is the most common type for household use. An ionization smoke detector has a pair of plates with a certain amount of voltage in between them. Smoke that creeps inside the chamber knocks off some electrons from those plates, which causes ionization to happen and the alarm to go off.
Note that this type of smoke detector reacts faster to flames. These are quick-burning fires that do not have a lot of smoke and commonly result from flaming liquids, as well as burning wood or paper. This makes it the most common type of house fire since it is fueled by common materials in a household.
Also, remember that other elements can affect the voltage in the ionization smoke detector chamber. Steam, for example, can cause this type to give off false alarms. This makes ionization smoke detectors not ideal to have around a bathroom or kitchen. Refer to local guidelines for proper positioning of ionization smoke detectors.
Moreover, research shows that ionization smoke alarms don’t react quickly to smoldering fires, which are slow-burning fires with a lot of smoke. But, this is where photoelectric smoke detectors come into the picture.
Photoelectric Smoke Detectors
Photoelectric smoke detectors circle on light-sensing features to trigger an alarm. It has a diode that emits a light beam and light-sensitive sensors inside its chamber. Smoke that creeps inside the chamber scatters the light beam, which in turn triggers the sensors to cause an alarm.
As mentioned above, photoelectric smoke detectors are best for smoldering fire. These are fires that commonly result from burning synthetic materials such as plastic objects. That’s why experts suggest that this type of smoke detector works best for a modern household.
However, you must be careful about positioning a photoelectric smoke detector too. It can also give off false alarms, especially when dust particles scatter the light beam in its chamber. Again, you must refer to the local guidelines for installing photoelectric smoke detectors when you sell a house.
Dual-Type Smoke Detectors
Some areas mandate the use of both ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors inside a house, but instead of installing separate units, you can choose a dual-type smoke detector for convenience.
These smoke detectors have both ionization and photoelectric features, which makes them perfect for detecting both fast-flaming and smoldering fires.
Choose the Right Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning causes serious ailments to thousands of people in the USA alone. This happens when the body inhales an unsafe level of CO from the air.
CO poisoning can cause temporary symptoms such as breathing difficulty or eye irritation, but there are more permanent ailments too, like lung problems, brain damage or death.
When choosing a CO detector, choose one that actually sounds an alarm instead of the type that has a patch that changes color. The alarm is more practical for people who are not constantly checking CO levels, and can be very useful if levels rise while you are asleep.
If a CO detector goes off, you need to vacate the house and/or quickly open all windows for ventilation and determine the source.
The best carbon monoxide detectors also have clear LCD or LED display screens. This shows the actual level of CO present in the air.
Know the Different Types of Power Source
Next to consider are the different types of power sources for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This circles on choosing between wired and battery-operated devices.
Wired Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Wired smoke detectors draw electricity directly from your home’s power supply. Meaning, you don’t need to worry about battery replacements regularly.
But when there is a power interruption or a blackout, you can’t expect these smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to work. It’s a bigger problem if a fire breaks out when there is no electricity. Or when the CO level reaches the unsafe marks. Moreover, wired detectors are harder to install and move when needed.
Battery-Operated Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
When you sell a house, battery-operated smoke and carbon dioxide detectors can impress your buyers. That’s because this type has battery packs that keep the homeowner worry-free when there is no electricity. Replacing the batteries can be marked on the calendar to change few months or when needed.
Purchase a unit with a tester button that gives off a cue when the batteries are still good. It is best to purchase batteries with a long lifespan too, and those that fit the device manufacturer’s recommendations.
Dual Power Source
Yes, there are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with dual power sources too. They are both wired and have batteries. The idea is, the device would run on AC power through the electrical wire in normal situations. But when there is a power interruption, the batteries kick in.
This means you don’t need to worry about the smoke and carbon monoxide detector failing to function because of power issues. However these can be more costly to move and install.
Weigh Additional Features
Lastly, you should think of some special features of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors too. Note, however, that add-ons translate to higher costs. That is why you must carefully weigh them for the best value.
- Dual Functionality – Some units have both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors built into one system. This is pricey but can be a great deal than buying and installing separate units.
- Interconnected Detectors – Some smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be interconnected together. When one device detects smoke or carbon monoxide increase, all alarms in the system sound off. Some local rules even recommend such systems in certain home areas.
- Smart Control – Yes, some smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be controlled using smart home platforms too. Think of Google Home and other similar applications. Most of these type of advanced applications also send alerts to smartphones in case of emergency.
Sell a House with Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Reminders Today
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors show home buyers they are getting a safe home. That is why you should install the right units in the properties you sell. Also, follow local regulations to avoid problems before closing when you sell a house. If you have more questions, ask your realtor.
Featured image by Letícia Almeida at thespruce.com.