Smoke and CO2 detectors

Does anyone check smoke and CO2 detectors? How do you check? Press button? Smoke in a can? Is this within the scope of practice?

I would have made this a poll, but i do not know how to do it on this forum.

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CO2 = carbon dioxide is for the Gore, global warming and Greenpeace crowd I do property inspections only :wink:

CO = carbon monoxide

Check for proper location presence only.
Pressing test button, only verifies if electrical supply or batteries are working not if these devices are functioning their intended purpose.
When interconnected with fire/security alarm system this action can and has resulted in nuisance alarms fire/police/EMT that are billed to the current owners in some munis.

Never any more you only need to have the police or fire dept arrive once to get the message leave this stuff alone .
Not my job I write in my report not tested.
Recommend buy new smoke and co detectors.

In NC, HI’s are required to test the operation of smoke alarms. But not CO alarms. I disclaim CO alarms, even though they are required by the county in which I do most of my business.

If a security system is present and the homeowner is not, I disclaim the testing of smoke alarms altogether.

Otherewise, I test the operation of smoke alarms by pushing the button only. If it works, good. If they are interconnected or not, I report that. If they are present or not in bedrooms, I report that. If anything fails, I put it in the Summary section. As long as there is one operable smoke alarm present, I’m happy with it.

This statement goes in every report:

“Generally speaking and by today’s standards, it is recommended that a smoke alarm be located inside of each bedroom and one outside of bedrooms. They should be hard-wired with a battery backup. On multi-level homes, they should be interconnected. The Buyer is strongly encouraged to check smoke alarm locations and operation and can contact the local fire department for more information. Inspection of smoke alarm locations, inter-connectivity, and battery backup functionality is not included in this home inspection. Since smoke alarms are often monitored by security systems, smoke alarms are not tested in homes with any type of security system. Since we cannot determine if a security system is active or monitored, the alarms are not tested at all where such a system exists. The client should ensure that all smoke alarms operate properly. An initial battery change is recommended when you move in. Routine testing of smoke alarms after your home purchase is recommended along with annual battery changes. The presence and operation of Carbon Monoxide alarms are not covered by this inspection, but they are recommended where gas and wood burning appliances and devices exist, in homes with garages, and in multi-family units with garages. Note that CO alarms are required in all dwellings by Mecklenburg County, NC and similar statutes may exist in other municipalities, but we are not required by the NC or SC Standards of Practice to identify their presence or test their operation and we therefore disclaim them.”

I insert this in all my residential [printed] reports. But do not test on site.

Good one thanks ,Love it.


Just a heads up of something I observed in your wording:

[F]R313.1 When more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit the alarm devices shall be interconnected in such a manner that the actuation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit.

This makes no metion of the number of floors only the number of alarms, “more than one


You are correct Barry. I’ve corrected my text. Thanks!

I meant CO, sorry. Thanks for the info. Very helpful

For smokes the IL SOP

and for CO in Illinois (not mentioned in HI SOP)


One should also comment when the smoke detectors are more than 10 years old. Many detectors will fail in place or have slow detection. The NFPA recommend that all detectors be replaced after 10 years. Cheap investment for the homeowner. Newer detectors can be had with CO and combustible gas combinations. Kids rooms should have the talking detectors.

I also recommend that detectors that are over stairs or over 12’ high should get lithium batteries. They are good for ten years. Those detectors are always the ones that start chirping at 2AM!