CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT NEW (2009) WASHINGTON STATE BUILDING CODE REQUIREMENTS:
Question: I manage a group of rental properties – apartments specifically – must I comply with these new requirements, or is that up to the tenants?
o Answer: When a unit is occupied, the tenant is responsible for maintenance of the CO alarm, including replacement of the batteries.
Question: I manage a group of condominium units. Since these are owner-occupied dwellings are they exempt from the new CO alarm requirements?
o Answer: No, these kinds of units are included in Occupancy category R-2 and will need to have the CO alarms installed in accordance with the code. As with other existing units, the deadline is January 1, 2013.
Question: We are a very large hotel chain, getting ready to replace all of our smoke alarms. Can we install combination smoke/CO alarms as an alternative to separate smoke and CO alarm units?
o Answer: Yes, combination smoke/CO alarms are allowed under the code, but must be manufactured in accordance with UL standard 2034.
Question: I am the owner of a single-family detached home where I’ve lived for several years. I will be doing some re-modeling throughout the house this fall. Will I be required to install CO alarms during the re-model phase?
o Answer: The code is silent on this specific issue; however under Chapter 46 of the International Fire Code compliance with current state code is required.
Question: How will the State Building Code Council (SBCC) enforce the new CO alarm requirements?
o Answer: The SBCC does not have enforcement authority for compliance with the building codes. The ‘authority having jurisdiction’ is at the local level, either the building official for the city or county, or a designated local fire official. The enforcement methods are determined based on local community resources and the determination of the local governing bodies.
Question: I have a residential construction project underway that should be completed by the end of 2010, with all of the houses already under contract. Do I need to hard-wire the CO alarms into the home now?
o Answer: No, the code does not require any of the CO alarms to be hard-wired, they may be a plug-in/battery back-up or simple battery-powered model, as long as they meet UL standard 2034 and are installed in accordance with the code and the manufacturers’ instructions. As for all new construction, the date for compliance is January 1, 2011.
Question: Where should CO alarms be installed, near the floor, the ceiling or somewhere in- between, and is one CO alarm sufficient in my home or apartment?
o Answer: As noted in the code, CO alarms must be installed in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions, and must be located outside of each sleeping area, in the immediate vicinity of the bedroom. Multiple alarms may be needed depending on the size and configuration of the dwelling unit. Again, be sure to carefully follow the manufacturers’ installation instructions.