More Stringent Requirements for Carbon Monoxide Detectors In Effect in New York State

On July 30, 2002, legislation requiring the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all new residential construction in New York was signed into law. The law required new construction to contain at least one carbon monoxide detector. But spurred by the tragic death of Amanda Hansen, a 16-year-old West Seneca, NY girl who died January 20, 2009, from carbon monoxide poisoning from a defective boiler while sleeping at a friends house, Amanda’s Law went into effect on February 22, 2010. It requires essentially all residences, both new and existing, to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed, and new construction to sometimes have more than one.

Existing one and two family residences will be required to have one carbon monoxide alarm installed on the lowest story having a sleeping area. In new construction, dwellings constructed on or after January 1, 2008, a carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed on each story having a sleeping area and on each story where a carbon monoxide source is located.

The law requires that when more than one carbon monoxide alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit, the alarms shall be interconnected in such a manner that the actuation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. The alarm shall be clearly audible in all sleeping areas over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed except where carbon monoxide alarms are permitted to be battery operated. The only dwellings exempt are those without gas sources, such as a home powered entirely by electricity, and those without a garage.

The new legislation also amended the text of section F611 in chapter F6 of the 2007 FCNYS (Fire Code of New York State). The FCNYS section sets forth requirements including prohibited locations, a power source (hardwired to the buildings electrical system), maintenance, disabling of alarms, one-family dwellings converted to bed and breakfast dwellings, and buildings under custody, licensure, supervision or jurisdiction of a department or agency of the State of New York. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, tasteless, and lighter than air, he said. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, headache, fatigue, nausea, and confusion. Often victims of carbon monoxide poisoning become disabled before they become aware that they are being exposed to the fumes. Potential sources of carbon monoxide are chimneys, portable heaters, gas or wood burning fireplaces, gas kitchen stoves, gas clothes dryers, water heaters, or auto exhaust fumes from an attached garage.

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