Illinois Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act
Effective January 1, 2007, every dwelling unit will be required to have at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes. Alarms can be battery powered, plug-in with battery back-up or wired into the AC power line with a secondary battery back-up. The alarm can be combined with smoke detecting devices if the combined unit complies with specific standards and the alarm differentiates the hazard.
The Illinois General Assembly has passed and the Governor has signed the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act (Public Act 094-0741). This new law, effective January 1, 2007, requires homeowners and landlords to install carbon monoxide detectors in all buildings containing bedrooms and sleeping facilities.
The primary features of the law are:
- Every “dwelling unit” must be equipped with at least one operable carbon monoxide alarm within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.
- The alarm may be combined with smoke detecting devices provided the unit complies with respective standards and the alarm differentiates the hazard.
- A “dwelling unit” means a room or suite of rooms used for human habitation, and includes single family residences, multiple family residences, and mixed use buildings.
- If a structure contains more than one “dwelling unit,” an alarm must be installed within 15 feet of every sleeping room in each “dwelling unit.”
- The owner must supply and install all required alarms. A landlord must ensure that the alarms are operable on the date of initiation of a lease. The tenant is responsible for testing and maintaining the alarm after the lease commences.
- A landlord is required to furnish one tenant per dwelling unit with written information regarding alarm testing and maintenance.
- Willful failure to install or maintain in operating condition any alarm is a Class B criminal misdemeanor.
The Act does exempt certain residential units from the requirement. Those residential units in building that (i) does not rely on combustion of fossil fuel for heat, ventilation or hot water; (ii) is not connected to a garage; and (iii) is not sufficiently close to any ventilated source of carbon monoxide to receive carbon monoxide from that source OR a residential unit that is not sufficiently close to any source of carbon monoxide so as to be at risk of receiving carbon monoxide from that source, as determined by the local building commissioner shall NOT require carbon monoxide detectors.
What is carbon monoxide and who is at risk?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless deadly gas. Because you can’t see, taste or smell it, carbon monoxide can kill you before you know it’s there. Everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Medical experts believe, however, that individuals with greater oxygen requirements such as unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with coronary or respiratory problems are at greater risk.
Why is carbon monoxide so dangerous?
The great danger of carbon monoxide is its attraction to hemoglobin in the bloodstream. When breathed in, carbon monoxide bonds with hemoglobin in the blood, displacing the oxygen which cells need to function. When CO is present in the air, it rapidly accumulates in the blood, forming a toxic compound known as carboxyhemoglobin (COHb). Carboxyhemoglobin causes symptoms similar to the flu, such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells, confusion and irritability. As levels of COHb increase, vomiting, loss of consciousness and eventually brain damage or death can result.
Where does carbon monoxide come from?
Carbon monoxide is a by-product of incomplete combustion, present whenever fuel is burned. It is produced by common home appliances, such as gas or oil furnaces, clothes dryers, ranges, ovens, water heaters or unvented space heaters, fireplaces, charcoal grills and wood burning stoves. Fumes from automobiles also contain carbon monoxide and can enter a home through walls or doorways if a car is left running in an attached garage. All of these sources can contribute to a CO problem in the home. If a home is vented properly and is free from appliance malfunctions, air pressure fluctuations or airway, venting or chimney blockages, carbon monoxide will most likely be safely vented to the outside. But energy -efficient insulation meant to keep warm air in during winter months and cool air in during summer months could cause carbon monoxide to be trapped inside. Furnace heat exchangers can crack, vents and chimneys can become blocked, disconnected or corroded; inadequate air supply for combustion appliances can cause conditions knows as down-drafting or reverse stacking, which force CO contaminated air back into the home.
Please call or email us if you have any questions or would like to purchase a carbon monoxide detector.