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Generally speaking, anyone who owns residential property regardless of size (i.e., 1 and 2 family homes, multifamily buildings, apartments, and townhouses, etc.) that contains fossil burning fuel equipment (i.e., oil, gas, wood, etc.) or contains enclosed parking (i.e., attached or enclosed garage), is required to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms by August 1st, 2008. In certain limited instances, the installation requirements are deferred until January 1, 2007.
Install CO alarms on every level of your home except for basements and attics that do not have habitable living spaces (i.e., family rooms, dens, etc.) by August 1, 2008.
There are several types of alarms that are allowed; they include:
Acceptable combination smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms must have simulated voice and tone alarms that clearly distinguish between the two types of emergencies. If you have questions about various types of smoke detectors, contact the Building Department at 507-934-0662.
Landlords must install CO alarms in each dwelling unit. Landlords must inspect, test and maintain the CO alarms at least once a year or at the beginning of any rental period (such as lease renewal). Batteries are required to be replaced once a year. Tenants should report any problems with alarms to the landlord immediately and learn to recognize the difference between the smoke detector and the carbon monoxide alarm.
In most residences, CO alarms are required to be located on every level of a 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.
CO alarms do not go inside garages, but in the adjacent living areas.
Carbon monoxide, known as the Invisible Killer, is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that results from incomplete burning of fuels such as natural gas, propane, wood, and gasoline. Each year, many people die from accidental CO poisoning and thousands more are injured. This law was passed to protect all of us from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
CO alarms are approved by an independent testing company such as Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL). Be sure to look for the approval label when buying CO alarms. Most of the CO alarms currently sold do meet these standards but it is a good idea to check and make sure they meet the standard before you purchase the alarms.
If you install CO alarms on every habitable level by August 1, 2008 and keep them in good working order, you don’t have to do anything else to be in compliance with the law. Contact the Building Department at 507-934-0662 if you need further assistance.
The first symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:
If you think you have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning or your CO alarm is sounding, leave the building immediately, and call 911.