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Frequently Asked Questions - Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Guidelines for Homeowners and Tenants
(Last Updated: November 5, 2004)

WHAT BUILDINGS ARE COVERED?

  1. What does the new law require and where can I get a copy?

    Almost every house and apartment in New York City must have a carbon monoxide detector installed before November 1, 2004. This includes one and two family dwellings.

    The new law and the Department of Buildings Carbon Monoxide Detector Rules (1 RCNY § 28-02) are available online. See "New Carbon Monoxide Detector Regulations" for links to all the available documents, including forms, brochures and guidelines.

  2. Are owner-occupied units exempt from the carbon monoxide installation requirements?

    No. The law covers all residential buildings, whether or not the house or apartment is owner-occupied.

  3. Are any houses or apartments exempt from the carbon monoxide installation requirements?

    Almost all houses and apartments must install carbon monoxide detectors. The exceptions are for houses and buildings that do not have a furnace, boiler, and/or water heater that burns fossil fuel (gas, oil or coal), and do not have other potential CO sources such as fireplaces, enclosed parking, or commercial ranges. For more information, see Department of Buildings Rules 1 RCNY § 28-02.

  4. One of my buildings receives its heat from an adjacent building. Do I need to provide carbon monoxide detectors?

    Yes, if the heat in your building comes from a boiler, furnace, or water heater in an adjacent building and your building physically touches that other building, then your building must install carbon monoxide detectors. However, if the heat in your building comes from a boiler , furnace, or water heater in an adjacent building and your building does not physically touch that other building, then this arrangement does not trigger the installation of carbon monoxide detectors. However, be sure to check Department of Buildings Rules 1 RCNY § 28-02(b)(1)(A)(iii)and (iv) for other triggers.

  5. Are hotels subject to the new law?

    Yes. Hotels are treated just like apartment buildings, except hotels are given one additional compliance method. Under Department of Buildings Rules 1 RCNY § 28-02 (b)(1), hotel owners may choose either to:

    1. Comply with the requirements as specified for apartments, with a carbon monoxide detector located in each dwelling unit; or
    2. Install a line-operated zoned carbon monoxide detector system with central annunciation and central office tie-in. This sort of system must provide an alarm in spaces identified in the Rules.

  6. Are schools, universities and libraries (G Occupancies) subject to the new law?

    Yes, but the required installation in each of these categories is different from what is required in homes. For the specific rules, see Department of Buildings Rules 1 RCNY § 28-02(b)(2). If you are not sure how to interpret the Rules or the Rules do not answer all of your questions, the school may retain the services of a registered architect or licensed engineer to determine what is required.

  7. Are institutions such as nursing homes and hospitals (H-2 Occupancies) subject to the new law?

    Yes, but the rules for hospitals and nursing homes are different from each other and from the rules applicable to private homes. For detailed requirements, consult Department of Buildings Rules 1 RCNY § 28-02(b)(2). If you are not sure how to interpret the Rules, or the Rules do not answer all of your questions, the institution may retain the services of a registered architect or licensed engineer to determine what is required.

    WHAT IS THE COST AND WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

  8. How much does it cost to purchase a carbon monoxide detector?

    Costs typically range from $20 for a basic model to $60 for ones with digital readouts and controls. CO detectors can be purchased at hardware stores and home centers.

  9. Who pays for the detector?

    The owner of the building must pay for and install the carbon monoxide detector. According to the regulations of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, if the house or apartment is rented to a tenant, the building owner is permitted to collect up to $25 for reimbursement from the tenant.

  10. Who is responsible for installing carbon monoxide detectors in a cooperative apartment or condominium?

    The owner of the building or unit has the responsibility to install the detectors under the law, but the proprietary lease, bylaws, or condominium declaration may also provide relevant rules. You may wish to contact the building's managing agent for further details as to how your building is going to comply.

    WHAT KIND OF DETECTORS NEED TO BE INSTALLED?

  11. What kind of carbon monoxide detectors should I purchase?

    All carbon monoxide detectors must be UL listed ("Underwriters Laboratory") and must be marked with the letters "UL." For installation in existing buildings, CO detectors may be battery powered, or powered by plugging into an electrical outlet as long as it also has a battery back-up. Newly constructed and substantially improved buildings must have hard-wired detectors.

  12. Can I purchase one device that detects for both smoke and carbon monoxide?

    Yes, this is called a "combo-unit." Combo-units must be installed at or near the ceiling.

    HOW MANY AND WHERE SHOULD THE DETECTORS BE INSTALLED?

  13. How many carbon monoxide detectors must I install?

    This depends on the configuration of the house or apartment. The law requires the installation of a carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of the primary entrance of each room used for sleeping. If all the bedroom doors are near each other, then one may be enough. If the bedroom doors are far apart, more than one may be needed.

  14. Do carbon monoxide detectors have to be installed on the ceiling?

    No. Some detectors are designed to be plugged into an electrical outlet, which may be close to the floor. Other detectors are designed to be installed on the wall or ceiling. Carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

  15. Can I install the carbon monoxide detector in the bathroom or kitchen?

    Carbon monoxide detectors are affected by excessive humidity and by too close proximity to gas stoves. Therefore the detectors should be located away from bathrooms and kitchens whenever possible.

  16. Do I need to install carbon monoxide detectors in the basement of my house?

    No. The new law requires detectors only within 15 feet of the primary entrance to any bedroom. The installation of additional detectors in other locations may be worthwhile, depending on the configuration of the house or apartment.

  17. I live in a studio apartment (one room) in an apartment building. Can the carbon monoxide detector be placed in the public corridor outside my apartment door?

    No, the carbon monoxide detector must be located within the apartment.

    WHEN MUST CO DETECTORS BE INSTALLED, AND ARE EXTENSIONS OF TIME AVAILABLE?

  18. When must the CO detectors be installed?

    Detectors should be installed on or before November 1, 2004.

  19. Are time extensions available?

    The Department of Buildings may authorize a time extension if the request meets the requirements of the Department's Rules 1 RCNY § 28-02(b)(2)(F) and provided that the owner notifies tenants upon the approval of the extension request. See Guidelines for Extensions of Time.

    There is no application fee for the extension request. A separate form must be completed for each building. The forms must be notarized and filled out in triplicate, with all supporting documentation required by Department of Buildings Rules 1 RCNY § 28-02. Forms must be mailed or hand delivered to the Borough Commissioner's Office in the borough where the building is located.

  20. What can I do if my landlord has not installed my carbon monoxide detector by November 1, 2004?

    First, call your landlord to find out if your building is the type that does not require CO detectors or whether the landlord has applied for an extension of time to install the detectors. If the landlord has done neither, you may call 311 and register a complaint.

    SAFETY CONCERNS

  21. What do I do if the carbon monoxide detector goes off?

    Open the windows immediately, and go to a well-ventilated area so that you are not poisoned by the carbon monoxide. If you have control of the boiler, furnace, or water heater, immediately turn it off and call your oil or gas provider or your service contractor to correct the problem. If the boiler, furnace or water heater is not under your control, call 911 for the Fire Department to investigate.

  22. What do I do if I feel ill from the effects of Carbon Monoxide?

    Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and non-irritating it may go undetected. In the event that you feel ill from carbon monoxide poisoning, go to a place with fresh air (go outside if you can) and call 911. Follow the instructions of the operator and await the help of a trained medical professional.

Additional Resources

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development FAQ

Information on Carbon Monoxide

Time Extension Request Guidelines

Installing a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Other Department of Buildings FAQ A-L

Other Department of Buildings FAQ M-Z

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