Carbon Monoxide Information

Residential Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Consumer Information
The Department of Fire Services is distributing A Consumer's Guide to Requirements for Residential Carbon Monoxide Alarms. This guide and information about the regulations can be obtained from local fire departments and on the DFS website.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also has information in both English and Spanish on common sources of carbon monoxide in the home and recognizing the symptoms of CO poisoning in a pamphlet called The Invisible Killer available here.

New CO Regulations

General Requirements
For most residential buildings with fossil fuel burning equipment or enclosed parking areas, the new regulations require carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home or dwelling unit including habitable portions of basements and attics. On levels with sleeping areas the alarms must be placed within ten feet of the bedroom doors. The regulations allow the following options for CO alarms:
  • Battery operated with battery monitoring; or
  • Plug-ins with battery back-up; or
  • Hard-wired with battery backup; or
  • Low voltage system; or
  • Wireless, or
  • Qualified combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm.
Acceptable Combination Alarms
Acceptable combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must have simulated voice and tone alarms that clearly distinguish between the two types of emergencies. The State Building Code mandates that only photoelectric smoke alarms are permitted within twenty feet of a bathroom or kitchen. Consumers are urged to check with the local fire department on whether a specific alarm meets the code requirements.
Alternative Compliance Option
Owners of larger buildings with centralized or minimal sources of carbon monoxide may wish to consider the alternative compliance option contained in the regulation.
Fire departments are currently required to inspect smoke alarms when homes are being sold and transferred. Starting March 31, 2006 (or January 1,2007 where hard-wired alarms are required) fire departments will now inspect all residences upon sale and transfer for carbon monoxide alarms.

What homes need a CO detector, by this new code?

  1. Homes with any fuel-burning appliance
    1. LPG
    2. Natural Gas
    3. Oil
    4. Coal
    5. Wood
  2. Homes with an attached garage

What kind should I use?

  1. Battery, single station stand alone
  2. Battery, low voltage
  3. Battery, low voltage interconnected
  4. Battery, low voltage interconnected combination smoke/carbon monoxide
    1. Any combination unit must have a voice enunciation
  5. AC, single station stand alone
  6. AC, interconnected
  7. AC, hardwired interconnected combination smoke / carbon monoxide
    1. Any combination unit must have a voice enunciation
Where do I put the CO detectors?
  1. At least one on every habitable floor
  2. Within 10 feet of every bedroom door
Carbon Monoxide Resources