Beginning January 1, 2023, the current Illinois state requirement of having smoke detectors in every single-family or multi-unit building built before 1988 will change.
The changes, which will not take effect in Chicago, require any smoke detector installed in these buildings to have a self-contained, non-removable (sealed) battery with at least a 10-year lifespan. The date of manufacture should be found on the smoke detector itself. An existing smoke detector may remain in such a building until it either:
- Becomes older than 10 years from the date of its manufacture, or
- Fails to respond to operability tests or otherwise malfunctions
There will be exemptions to this law, including if the existing smoke detector is:
- Hard-wired into the building’s AC power line
- Part of a centrally monitored system
- Uses Wi-Fi or a low power radio frequency to give notice when it reaches a critically low level of power
Any other devices that may in the future be authorized by the State Fire Marshal are also exempt from this new legislation. Failure to comply with this law can result in a fine of up to $1,500.
The new law is being touted as having various advantages for owners. Once 10-year sealed batteries are installed there will be no need to:
- Climb up a ladder to replace a battery in a smoke detector, except for every 10 years;
- Track down a chirping smoke detector as frequently;
- Buy replacement batteries; at the end of a sealed battery smoke detector’s 10-year life, it should be thrown away (or recycled if possible)
It is unclear what the cost of the sealed batteries will be and whether any savings will occur.
For more information, the statute, titled Public Act 100-0200, can be found in the Illinois Compiled Statutes at 425 ILCS 60/3 and 4.
Mark Rosenbaum is a principal at Fischel Kahn, representing condominium and common interest community associations for more than 30 years.