Smoke Detectors in 2024 – What is California Legal and What is Not When Selling

For 2024, and as for previous years since 2014, the state of California requires – when selling – all newly installed battery only type smoke detectors to have a 10 year battery installed inside which can not be replaced. If the batteries in the smoke detector you have are replaceable, they are not California compliant when selling.

If the smoke detectors are hard wired, meaning there is a wire cable between the detector and an electrical box above it, then the smoke detector is not required to have a 10 year battery installed, but is required to have a battery (9 volt battery or AA type battery) backup inside.

Hard wired smoke detectors may have a 10 year battery installed, but it is not required. Exception here is the Nest™ Protect and some other networkable detectors are allowed in California to not have a 10 year battery installed. Nest Protect detectors come in both hardwired and battery type.

Battery only type detectors must have a 10 year battery installed, and not just say it has a 10 year warranty, meaning it should last 10 years, without mentioning the battery. It must say it has a 10 year battery installed, not just a 10 year warranty for it to be California legal.

Compliance codes for selling a house in California may be different than the current 2023 electrical code when building a new house or home. New building codes are typically more stringent than compliance codes when selling a property in California.

Regardless – when selling – all smoke detectors should be checked to be working and in good condition. If they are not working they must be replaced. Smoke alarms and detectors are meant to save lives so best not to go the cheap route.

Carbon monoxide detectors on the other hand are not required to have 10 year battery. More here on CO detectors and the different types.

For selling purposes, some cities (ie city of Los Angeles) may require attached homes to have hard wired smoke detectors with a battery backup. In the city of LA, detached homes may have either hard wired type or battery only type smoke detectors when selling. All attached homes in California are required to be hard wired if rented. More on code for attached homes in the city of LA here.

worst carbon monoxide detector on earth, bad smoke detectors

These are not compliant for California. These have a 9 volt battery, they are required to have a 10 year battery installed inside which can not be removed by the user.

Generally all Siterwell (chinese) detectors are not California compliant, best to avoid this brand to be compliant in California.

Read below for information on the most recent California requirements for smoke detectors for 2024, this code came into law in 2014.

Questions? Call us at 310-800-4418 or use the comment box below to contact us.

4 thoughts on “Smoke Detectors in 2024 – What is California Legal and What is Not When Selling”

  1. Kathi Markan

    California is subject to power outages frequently. I don’t understand why hardwired smoke alarms with NO battery backup are permitted. Additionally, if the hardwired smoke alarms do have a battery backup – why are they not also required to be 10-year and sealed?

    1. Any new hardwired smoke detector has a battery backup, its only ones that are 20+ years old that I see that do not have a battery backup. The reason the back up battery can be 10 year lithium battery type or a 9 volt or AA battery type is due to cost. Also we have noticed some 10 year battery smoke detectors do not last 10 years, and stop working before the 10 year point, so maybe the technology is not there yet.

  2. Linda Herrera

    For inspection and appraisal when selling a 3 bedroom 2 bath.
    Is it required for every room to have a smoke detector?

    1. In the state of California, every sleeping room ie bedroom must have a working smoke detector, and one smoke detector outside of the bedroom(s) in the hallway. I assume other states have this same requirement. For appraisals, the lender will dictate their requirement, but it is usually the same or similar in the state of California.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *