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Where does the code require CO alarms (carbon monoxide detectors)?
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Florida Statute 553.885 has required for about the past 10 years that any new home or home addition that has a fossil-fuel burning heater or appliance (such as a gas water heater), a fireplace, or attached garage must have a carbon monoxide alarm within 10 feet of each sleeping room. The International Residential Code (IRC) states it slightly differently as "outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms."
For most homes, this means that a CO alarm has to be located in each hallway or access room to a bedroom. Because a smoke alarm is also required outside the bedrooms, most homebuilders use a combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, like the one shown above, to accommodate both requirements.
Although the law applies only to new homes or home additions, we think the “one CO alarm in the area outside each bedroom or cluster of bedrooms” is a good standard for existing homes too, except for a further recommendation to have at least one CO alarm on every level of a multi-story home. If you already have smoke alarms at these locations, you can easily change them out for “combo” alarms.
Florida also previously had a building code requirement for new homes that any door from the living area of the house to the garage must have an automatic closer—intended to reduce the risk of death due to carbon monoxide from a car accidentally left running in the garage entering the house, but it has been removed from the code. We think it is still a good safety measure for you to consider adding.
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