What Exactly Does The Carbon Monoxide Detector Law Say?!

2 Replies

I have read over the law multiple times and cannot come to a conclusion on this. The way the Washington State Fire Code is written it sounds like we need to install a smoke detector and a CO detector in all bedrooms that have a heat vent from the furnace. The law specifically states:

"Sleeping units or dwelling units in I and R-1 occupancies and R-2 college dormitories, hotel, and DSHS licensed boarding home and residential treatment facility occupancies which do not themselves contain a fuel-burning appliance or a fuelburning fireplace, or have an attached garage, need not be provided with carbon monoxide alarms, provided that (a) The sleeping unit or dwelling unit is not adjacent to any room which contains a fuel-burning appliance, a fuel-burning fireplace, or an attached garage; and (b) the sleeping unit or dwelling unit is not connected by duct work or ventilation shafts with a supply or return register in the same room to any room containing a fuel-burning appliance, a fuel-burning fireplace, or an attached garage; and (c) The building is provided with a common area carbon monoxide detection system."

I read this to state that if a home has a central heating system then any bedroom with a heat vent connected to this heating system needs to have a C/O detector installed in the room. I've had several owners, (I'm a property manager,) tell me they do not think that is what the law says and refuse to install the C/O detectors.

Do any of you have thoughts on this?


My understanding is that each low risk unit needs one CO detector, and each bedroom/living space/kitchen needs a smoke detector.  It's amazing how many owners are not aware of the relatively new CO law, but can see why they would push back on several in each unit.

I can’t comment on the WA law, but the NFPA (national fire protection agency) recommends one outside sleeping areas. They don’t recommend ones in sleeping areas - so I find it hard to believe the state would require it.

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