Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Illinois requires carbon monoxide alarms effective January 1, 2007.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. It is produced when any fossil fuel, including natural gas, is burned. When fossil fuels do not burn properly, CO can build up and cause sickness and even death. Carbon monoxide kills about 200 people in the U.S. every year.

As of January 1, 2007, homeowners, landlords, and building owners are required to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors within 15 feet of rooms used for sleeping. This law applies only to those occupancies that use fossil fuel to cook, heat, or produce hot water, or occupancies that are connected to an enclosed garage.

The carbon monoxide detector may be battery operated, plug-in with battery back-up, or wired into the home's AC power with a secondary battery back-up. It must also bear the label of a nationally recognized testing laboratory and must comply with the most recent standards of the Underwriters Laboratories or the Canadian Standard Association.

For more information about the law, please click see Public Act 094-0741 or contact your local building commissioner.

Safety measures:

  • Never heat your home with your gas range or oven.
  • Never burn charcoal inside your home or garage.
  • Always open the chimney flue when you use your fireplace.
  • Never run a combustion engine, such as your car, lawn mower or snow blower, in enclosed areas.

Install a CO detector:

  • Install a CO detector within 15' of any room used for sleeping in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Do not install a CO detector near your kitchen or garage or in a room with a furnace.
  • If your CO detector goes off and you feel ill, leave the house and call 911 or the local fire department. If you do not feel ill, push your detector's reset button. If the alarm goes off again after a few minutes, open the windows, leave the house and call 911 or the local fire department.

Recognize the symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Dizziness, nausea, headache and coughing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pale skin with cherry red lips and ear tips

Know what to do if you suspect CO poisoning:

  • Get fresh air and stay outside.
  • Call 911 or the local fire department.

More Information

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