NACHI's Electrical SOP is outdated

Wow. Just noticed NACHI’s SOP for electrical. Seems like an extreme oversight for our times. There is nothing more important about the safety of the occupants than functioning smoke and CO alarms.

"IV. The inspector is not required to:


operate or test smoke or carbon-monoxide detectors or alarms. "

Many home inspectors are hesitant about testing any of the alarm systems. The systems are becoming even more complicated with smart home technology.

Also, I don’t know of any home inspector SOP that requires home inspectors to test them. Do you?

And finally, our SOP doesn’t prohibit you from testing them.

Many are wrong. If they can’t tell a standard smoke alarm from a security system they need to do some research.

Why test them?

I recommend they replace them and then again in 10 years.

A brand new home? A 5 year old home? A 7 year old home? A 9 year old home?

I find about 25% of new homes have the smoke alarms wired incorrectly.

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The Texas SOP requires testing of smoke & CO detectors. See TREC Rule 535.229 (b)(1)©(v)(VI) with exceptions for ones that are or may be monitored or require codes to operate.

Florida requires stand alone “smoke detectors” be tested.
I interpret this as not required if they are a component of a total alarm system.

61-30.803 Standards of Practice, Electrical Systems.
(1) Electrical systems and components include the following:
(a) Service entrance conductors, drip loop, cables, and raceways;
(b) Main service equipment and main disconnects;
© Service grounding;
(d) Interior components of main service panels and sub panels;
(e) Conductors;
(f) Over current protection devices;
(g) Readily accessible installed lighting fixtures, switches, and receptacles;
(h) Ground fault circuit interrupters;
(i) Amperage and voltage rating of electrical service;
(j) Main disconnect(s);
(k) Methods or types of wiring;
(l) Smoke detectors;
(m) Carbon monoxide detectors;
(n) Arc fault circuit interrupters.
(2) The inspector shall inspect all of the visible and readily accessible electrical systems and components.
(3) The inspector is not required to inspect:
(a) Remote control devices;
(b) Security alarm systems and components;
© Low voltage wiring, systems and components, ancillary wiring and systems and components not a part of the primary electrical power distribution system;
(d) Generators, photovoltaic solar collectors or battery or electrical storage devices and associated equipment.
(4) The inspector is not required to:
(a) Measure amperage, voltage or impedance;
(b) Perform a load calculation;
© Insert any tool, probe, or device into any electrical component;
(d) Determine the accuracy of circuit labeling.

I don’t test them. I have a narrative in my report directing the client to test all smoke and CO detectors upon moving in and annually for proper function. I do note if they are present as quite often they are nowhere to be found.

Had a friend who’s child died due to CO poisoning. I’m a fanatic about it.

As am I.

But don’t test them.

I don’t know if they are part of alarm systems.

Just note that there is a difference between smoke alarms and smoke detectors.

That is, in essence, what most home inspectors do as well.

We used to hit the test buttons… after the second call to the fire department and visit of the fire engine we stopped.

Been there done that. The fire department came in with sirens blasting.

We did check CO levels with our meter though. I used to run one on every inspection. Carbon Monoxide kills 170 people a year, which isn’t very much compared to radon which kills 21,000 people a year, but a life is a life.

Terrorist attacks kill very few Americans: 72 a year on average. More Americans die from Carbon Monoxide than terrorist attacks. We wasted 7 trillion dollars along with 180,000 civilians attacking the wrong countries. Anyway, even bees kill more Americans than terrorist attacks.

Cause of Deaths in the U.S. - InterNACHI

Our SOP should require home inspectors to test for Ted Kennedy’s car. :wink:

So you worry about a white wire on a two pole.breaker, but don’t test something that could save a life. Wow.

To test the new smoke detectors that are connected to Nest, you have to have the owner’s phone or tablet connected to Nest Protect, and you have to have access to that phone or tablet. That’s what this video doesn’t tell you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlwIW_OAvns) . Here is how fancy the new ones are getting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyuTphUrz60)

FABI SOP is stricker than most.

FABI’s SOP is worded oddly on the matter (probably should have been under their “describe” section rather than their “inspect” section, but I understand what they were trying to say to do.

Some of the new smart home systems shut the furnace off in a fire. But it’s unclear to me if it shuts the furnace off during a test. And if it doesn’t kill the furnace during a test, would that be considered a failed test or simply a system that is smart enough to know it’s only a test?