A new Washington State carbon monoxide (CO) detector code takes effect January 1st, 2013.  This new code requires carbon monoxide alarms be installed on each floor of a home and outside each bedroom or sleeping area of the home. 

For new construction, the code will take effect in conjunction with the new build. For existing homes and dwellings, these carbon monoxide detectors will have to be installed when major alterations, repairs or additions requiring a permit occur. This includes most HVAC or plumbing work that is done to existing homes. For now, exterior surface work such as roof or siding replacement or the addition of replacement windows or does not fall under these guidelines. This addition to the 2011 law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in new builds also extends that requirement to all existing residences, including apartments, condos, hotels, dormitories and residential institutions.

This is also something to be thinking about if you are in the process of buying or selling a new home. Some appraisers are looking for the carbon monoxide alarms and calling for them to be installed before closing on the house.  If you’re buying a home, make sure the seller is aware that this is best done prior to the appraisal.  Should the appraiser have to return for another inspection, the buyer may have to pay for the additional inspection just because of the initial lack of these detectors.

If you have an existing home that does not have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor and near every bedroom, it may be a good idea to take that step regardless of home improvement projects. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen or smelled and can kill a person in minutes. It can quickly build up to unsafe levels in enclosed or semi-enclosed areas. In fact, carbon monoxide killed over 1,000 Washington residents between 1990 and 2005. CO alarms are relatively inexpensive, and are well worth the cost.

Carbon monoxide problems have historically been thought of to only be present in homes with gas heat and/or attached garages. However, the new law underlines that this is not the case, as these types of single-family homes are included on the list of required dwellings the new law affects.

You can learn more about carbon monoxide and other comfort and safety essentials on the BelRed site.

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2 thoughts on “Carbon Monoxide Detectors REQUIRED after January 1st

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