Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are now required in all residences with potential sources of CO. For most residential buildings with fossil fuel-burning equipment or enclosed parking areas, CO alarms are required on every level of the home or dwelling unit, including habitable portions of basements and attics, and within 10' of bedroom doors.

  • "Consumer's Guide to Requirements for Residential Carbon Monoxide Alarms" - available at either the Central or North Fire Stations
  • The Invisible Killer (PDF) - pamphlet written by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Types of CO Detectors
The regulations allow the following options for CO alarms.
  • Battery-operated with battery monitoring
  • Plug-ins with battery backup
  • Hard wired with battery backup
  • Low voltage system
  • Wireless
  • Combination smoke and CO alarm
Combination Smoke & CO Detectors
Acceptable combination smoke and CO alarms must have simulated voice and tone alarms that clearly distinguish between the 2 types of emergencies. The State Building Code mandates that only photoelectric smoke alarms are permitted within 20' of a bathroom or kitchen.

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 required to inspect smoke alarms when homes are being sold or transferred. The Fire Department will inspect all residences upon sale or transfer for properly located and operating CO alarms and smoke detectors. A Certificate of Compliance is issued by the Fire Department and must be present at the time of a closing.

Principals of CO Detectors
Consider the following when placing a CO detector:
  • Sources of CO
  • Areas where CO could concentrate or collect
  • Areas of potential CO concentration where people will remain for extended periods of time / sleep
  • Detectors must be located away from areas of high humidity
  • Detectors must be located so furniture or draperies do not interfere with air flow to the detector
  • Detectors must be located away from air conditioners, supply air registers, or other ventilation that might interfere with air entering the detector
  • Detectors must be located away interferences such as electronic remote controls, fluorescent lights
  • Detectors must be not closer than 15-25 feet from a fuel-burning appliance - detectors exposed to frequent small amounts of carbon monoxide tend to fail prematurely
  • Detectors must be a fixed installation, securely mounted to the wall or ceiling
  • Combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors must be the installation requirements for both types of detectors
  • Reference to the manufacturer’s instructions for installations for information about the type of detector (combination, plug-in, battery powered) you purchased
Level with bedrooms
  • Must be within 10 feet of the bedroom door
  • Basement
    • Near the stairway leading to the floor above
    • When a sidewall vent gas appliance is installed, gas code also requires a hardwired detector with battery backup to be installed near the space where the heater is located
  • Property with attached garage
    • Between door to garage and living space (close to a CO source)
    • In the living space (area of possible concentration)
  • Living level, no bedrooms
    • In the living space (area of possible concentration)
    • Near the stairway leading to the floor above