Carbon Monoxide Detector Law

The carbon monoxide detector law, which took effect January 1, 2007, requires that all buildings using fossil fuel and having sleeping rooms or an attached garage must have an approved, operating carbon monoxide detector installed within 15 feet of any sleeping area.

Homes that have all electric appliances and do not have a fireplace or an attached garage are exempt from the requirements.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas produced when fossil fuels, such as natural gas, gasoline, wood, coal, propane, oil and methane, are burned incompletely. Heating equipment including furnaces, hot water heaters, stoves and fossil-fueled space heaters are among potential indoor sources of carbon monoxide. The deadly gas can also enter a home if vehicles or generators are left running in an attached garage.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms

These symptoms vary with concentration and time of exposure. Carbon monoxide poisoning is often mistaken for other illnesses such as the flu or food poisoning. Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin with cherry red lips and ear tips

According to the National Safety Council, approximately 200 to 300 people annually die in the United States from carbon monoxide poisoning, while many others are sickened by the gas. Many victims are overcome in their sleep.

Obtaining a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide detectors are available in most home improvement and general merchandise stores. Cost ranges from $20 to $50, depending on features.

Maintaining Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The new law requires landlords to be responsible for obtaining and installing carbon monoxide detectors. However, it is a tenant's responsibility to maintain the unit and replace the batteries.