Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Condominium associations homeowners need to be aware of Washington’s carbon monoxide alarm law! Although the law was passed in 2009, it requires that all buildings classified as residential occupancies (which includes condominiums) be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors by January 1, 2013. See RCW 19.27.530 for the full text of the law.

A carbon monoxide detector is a device that detects the presence of carbon monoxide gas in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely dangerous and can cause permanent injury or even death. Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, it is not ordinarily detectable without a specialized detector.

The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) section 51-54-4600 specifies that the carbon monoxide detectors must comply with Underwriter’s Laboratory Standard 2034, which sets standards the detectors must comply with. The detector you purchase should specify on the packaging whether it complies with UL 2034. It should be battery operated or can plug in with a battery backup.

It is not clear from the law whether the association or the individual unit owners are responsible for installing the detectors. To minimize the risk that your association will not be in compliance, we recommend that associations purchase the detectors and offer them to the unit owners for free or at a discount, and require that they be installed. Non-compliance could potentially result in liability for the condominium association. Carbon monoxide alarms can currently be purchased for around $25-40.

If you have any questions we can answer, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us directly. We look forward to continuing this conversation with you in our future posts!