New state laws make carbon monoxide detectors mandatory

New state laws make carbon monoxide detectors mandatory »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Effective January 1st, state law says landlords have to install carbon monoxide detectors on their properties.

When most people think of Carbon monoxide, they think of boating accidents, or people running the car in their garage. Well gas-fueled homes are on the increase in Washington and so is CO poisoning. Effective January 1st, state law says landlords have to install carbon monoxide detectors on their properties.

Greg Crawford owns 12 apartments along Birch Avenue in Richland.
He's been a landlord here for more than a decade. None of his properties have carbon monoxide detectors right now.

"I don't think a lot of people are aware. I haven't had any tenants mention it, that they would like to have them.. carbon monoxide detectors," Greg tells KEPR.

As of January First, every rental, hotel, apartment and remodel will have to have the detectors on each level of the home.

Greg says, "Mount them either in the ceiling or down low."

Homes built after 2009, already have them. They weren't required before that. Firefighters wish they were a requirement for every home. They've seen more cases of carbon monoxide poisoning over the years, which can come from a natural gas leak.

Batallion Chief Tod Kreutz explains, "More people are putting in gas.. we're having more and more activations."

In Washington, more people were hospitalized for C-O poisoning in recent years. From just 50 in 2008, to three times that last year.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be fatal, but it's rare. It's most common when there's a power outage that lasts for a few days.This is what happened in Grant County back in 2007. A generator was brought inside a home for heat and three kids under age eight died from the fumes. It's one more reason why firefighters say this is a cheap way to keep your family safe.

Tod continues, "It's a minimal investment, to have some security in your home. The prices have gone down tremendously in the last few years for Carbon monoxide detectors."

You can pick up an alarm at any general hardware store, costing anywhere from on sale here for about $25 up to $50.

Eventually, any homes sold will have to have C-O detectors, but laws are still in the works for that.

Another thing you should know, don't save a buck by purchasing a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Smoke detectors last ten years, and carbon monoxide only six. Investing in them separately might save you in the end.