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July 1 compliance date for battery operated smoke detectors looms around corner

Picture of typical battery operated smoke detector.
Picture of typical battery operated smoke detector.
Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

Last year, the California Legislature in SB 745 pushed back by six months, the battery operated smoke alarm compliance date of January 1, 2014 to July 1, 2014. Within the next 90 days, all property owners of multifamily housing must have installed alarms which have non-replaceable, non-removable 10-year batteries.

Just one year later the new requirements for features changes again. By July 1, 2015 all battery operated detectors must 1) display a manufacturing date on the device, 2) provide a location on the device for the installer to write and display the date of the installation, and 3) the detector unit must have a hush feature. Before the changes imposed by SB 745, there was a requirement for an end of life feature. However, the Senate bill analysis indicates the technology for an end of life feature could not be developed and tested in time for the legislation. Now, the manufacture date, install date place holder and hush features won’t be required until July 1, 2015 and the end of life feature has been omitted in its entirety.

If you are still replacing smoke detectors in your units, be sure all of the features and upgrades are included in the replacement units you purchase today, or you will find yourself replacing them again within a year. Read the features list of the new detector unit carefully and make sure that you have selected one that is in compliance with all current and future requirements. While most stores will be careful to have only units that meet current and future requirements on their shelves, it is always possible that an out of date unit could inadvertently end up on a store shelf. Checking the label can save you a return trip to the store to make an exchange.

The balance of the new law focuses on water-conserving plumbing fixtures and becomes effective January 1, 2019. It requires that water-conserving plumbing fixtures under certain defined circumstances be installed by that date. The plumbing portion of the legislation will be discussed in my next installment.

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