Illinois Dwellings Will Require CO Alarms in the New Year


The Illinois Carbon Monoxide Detector Act went into effect Jan. 1. The law requires all dwellings in Illinois with one bedroom or more to have carbon monoxide (CO) alarms within 15 feet of every bedroom or sleeping unit.

Alarms may be battery-powered, plug-in with battery backup or wired into an AC power line with a secondary battery backup. Alarms must also be compliant with the most recent safety standards of UL or the Canadian Standard Association, as well as bear the label of a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

The alarm may be integrated with a smoke detection device as long as the combined alarm can differentiate between hazards and complies with specific standards.

John Drengenberg, consumer affairs manager for UL, suggests keeping all CO alarms at least 15 feet away from furnaces and other source of natural gas combustion. “This helps keep local fire departments from having to respond to false alarms,” he says.

Any building that does not use fossil fuels for heat, ventilation or hot water, does not have occupancies connected to a residential garage, and is not sufficiently close to any ventilated source of CO (a condition determined by the local building commissioner) is exempt from the requirement to feature CO detectors.

Willfully failing to comply with the act is considered a Class B misdemeanor. Removing, destroying or otherwise disabling any installed CO alarm is a Class A misdemeanor in the case of a first conviction and a Class 4 felony in the case of a second of subsequent conviction. The latter does not apply if a CO alarm is disabled in the course of an inspection or service call.

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