Fire is probably one of the scariest words that can be heard in the insurance business. Over the years, technology has helped to improve the ability to detect fires earlier, which helps to eliminate possible damage or injury. Smoke detectors and alarm systems have really helped to eliminate this danger. In recent years, carbon monoxide has been recognized as a greater threat in our homes, and again, the technology to detect this risk has improved. In January of 2007, a new law went into effect in the state of Illinois related to the requirements of equipping your home or rental property with carbon monoxide detectors.
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 a 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.
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. IBI