CHICAGO — Effective January 1, 2023, Illinoisans will have a new Smoke Alarm Law to follow.

The law requires residents in single or multi-family homes/dwellings who need to install a new smoke alarm, choose a long-term one with a 10-year sealed battery.

Existing smoke alarms can remain as long as they’re not 10 years over their manufactured date.

Homeowners who don’t replace their old alarms with the updated model will get a 90-day notice to do so and could face a fine up to $100.

Homes built after 1988 with hardwired smoke alarms are exempt, as are homes with wireless alarms that use Wi-Fi, low-power radio frequencies or some other wireless local-area networking.

In 2017 Lawmakers passed the measure, Public Act 100-0200, to have the 1988 Illinois Smoke Detector Act reflect advances in alarm technology.

Firefighters won’t be going door-to-door to enforce the law, and fire officials say it’s really to raise awareness for homeowners and landlords about the new advances in alarms.

Officials believe installing a sealed battery alarm, will also help people stop removing the batteries from their alarm in the event of a cooking snafu or the like, and eliminate the need to replace batteries every six months. 

In 2021, Illinois had 97 house fire deaths, with nearly 70% of those deaths occurring in homes that didn’t have working smoke alarms, according to the Illinois Firefighters’ Association (IFA) and the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance (IFSA).

Fire officials say smoke inhilation is killing people more than burns because the content of more homes consist of plastics and synthetic materials and the smoke can become toxic in a matter of minutes.

The IFSA has these recommendations to protect your family:

  • Install smoke alarms on every floor and in every bedroom.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • Alarms don’t last forever, remember to replace your smoke alarms every 10 years.
  • Plan and practice your escape route with your family at least twice a year.
  • If your smoke alarm does sound, leave the home immediately and call 9-1-1.

You can also find more information on determining the best spot to install smoke alarms here.

The IFSA does provide smoke detectors to some fire stations to give to the public, but says most firehouses don’t distribute the alarms because of liability issues.  

Some firefighters will install free smoke detectors in homes as part of the IFSA’s “Be Alarmed” program

A single long-term sealed smoke alarm costs between $20 and $60 and there are bundle options for multiple smoke alarms which you can find at a hardware, general merchandise store or online. 

The national average to have a professional install your smoke alarms ranges between $70 and $150.