All You Need to Know about the Utah Smoke Detector Code5 min read

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All You Need to Know about the Utah Smoke Detector Code5 min read

Fires can happen unexpectedly. When they do, prompt detection is crucial for you to put them out or evacuate the building promptly. Here is where smoke detectors come in handy. 

Did you know that property damage from smoke and fires costs up to $18 billion in the U.S. alone? It doesn’t even include medical costs or business losses! This problem highlights the importance of reinforcing preventative measures through laws like the smoke detector code in Utah, which ensures every Utahn home and business can mitigate fires effectively.

Complying with the Utah smoke detector code involves bolstering your property’s fire protection.

Understanding the Utah Smoke Detector Code

The 2021 Utah State Building Code, Chapter 9, is the foundation of Utah’s smoke detector regulations. It takes from the 2021 International Building Code (IBC), with some amendments and additions. Here’s a general rundown of what Utah’s code entails:

Required installations

New buildings and structures erected in 2021 onward that require smoke detectors in their fire alarm systems include:

  • Hospitals (I-2)
  • Schools and daycare centers (E)
  • Storm shelters (E)
  • Buildings that manufacture, process, or store hazardous chemicals (H)
  • Prisons and rehabilitation centers (I-1 and I-3)
  • Retail establishments and department stores (M)
  • Hotels, apartments, and boarding houses, including university accommodations (R-1 to 4)
  • Amusement buildings (907.2.12)
  • High-rise buildings (907.2.13)
  • Underground establishments (907.2.18)
  • Airport traffic control towers (907.2.22)
  • Storage facilities (S)

Buildings and structures outside the categories above may still install smoke detectors to alert occupants of fire-related emergencies.

Home installations

According to the Code, you must place single or multi-station smoke alarms outside each bedroom in its immediate vicinity, in each bedroom, and in each story. The last point includes basements but not crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics.

Duct smoke detectors 

What if your building has smoke detectors in its air ducts? In this case, you must set each detector for air velocity, temperature, and humidity to trigger when detecting smoke within the duct system. Its alarm should also be visible and audible within an occupied location.

Unoccupied property

Even structures with no people living in them need fire protection. You must have a smoke detector for each fire alarm control unit, notification extenders, and supervising station transmitting equipment so that fire stations can swiftly address fire or smoke emergencies even if no one’s home.

Heat detectors and automatic sprinklers

A building’s ambient conditions sometimes render smoke detectors useless. It often happens in areas with natural ventilation, preventing smoke from reaching the detector’s sensors. The Code allows you to replace them with heat detectors or automatic sprinklers in such cases.

Alarm volume

Smoke detector alarms must emit an audible sound distinct from non-fire alarms:15 decibels (dBA) louder than ambient volume or 5 dBA above the maximum volume level. Plus, the alarm must last over a minute and be audible at those levels inside the building. 

Although an audible alarm isn’t necessary if the average ambient noise is over 105 dBA, your detector should emit a visible notification compliant with the NFPA 72 of the 2022 National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.

Utah Smoke Detector Code: Applications and Considerations

Part of Utah’s smoke detector code requires knowing the proper handling of smoke detectors for your home or business to keep it compliant.


Installing a smoke detector isn’t as simple as screwing it on—you need to follow installation standards per Utah’s Smoke Detector Code and NFPA 72.

Regardless of whether your detector is wired or wireless, its protection system must comply with NFPA 72. Its primary power source should be your building’s main wiring, and it must have a backup battery unless it’s connected to an emergency electrical system.


Fire alarm systems, including smoke detectors, are readily available online. However, not all devices are equal; some are more effective than others. So, to ensure their quality and compliance, you must test all fire alarm components, including smoke detectors, per NFPA 72 upon installation. 

Avoid using smoke detectors and fire alarm systems that don’t conform to this standard. They might not detect smoke as well as compliant ones or fail to alert occupants adequately of fires. Worse, you could be partly liable for a fire resulting from a failed detector.


Due to aging components and accumulated debris, smoke detectors become less reliable over time, compromising their ability to detect smoke and alert occupants to potential fires. So, replace smoke detectors every 10 years to ensure your fire alarm system’s optimal working condition. 

Protect Your Home from Smoke and Fire Damage

Every precautionary step you take counts in fire safety, and following the regulations above lets you avoid facing penalties down the line. 

However, remember that this article is a general overview of Utah’s smoke detector code. Reach out to your local fire department or building inspector to help you understand the law in detail and keep your home or business safe with updated systems.

Remember this, smoke detectors are required because they save lives. Smoke detectors are much like a seatbelt in the sense that they only need to work once, for them to be “worth it.” Unfortunately, each instance where smoke detectors are removed, tampered with or modified and they fail resulting in loss of life, it reaffirms to all of us, that smoke detectors have a place in our homes and businesses! 

Our team at All Dry has your back for fire or smoke-related emergencies. As a trusted restoration company in Utah, our fire and smoke damage cleaning services can help bring your home or business establishment back to its former glory—as if the damage never happened.

Contact us to request a service today!

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Rachel Galeria

I have been married for five years and we have one beautiful little girl. I am so lucky to be a mom. I love to help others and build businesses to be successful. One day our neighbors backflow preventer broke while they were out of town and water filled their window well, broke their window, and water came flooding into their basement. We helped stabilize the area and loved it so much we started All Dry so that we could help with flooding all the time! We have been in business nationally since 2014, we have built a reputation of quick response, honest and trustworthy technicians, reasonable prices, and consistent communication. We expect the unexpected.