Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms

Effective March 1, 2010 in Baltimore City

Building, Fire and Related Codes of Baltimore City §1211 Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Overview – Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas produced by appliances and other devices that burn gas, petroleum products, wood and other fuels. Carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in your blood — and the consequences can be fatal. Effective March 1, 2010 any property in Baltimore City that has appliances or other devices that burn gas, petroleum products, wood and other fuels must have a working carbon monoxide alarm installed outside of all sleeping areas.


KEY POINTS

Affected properties: All (both rental and owner occupied) dwelling units in Baltimore City that:
1. use gas or fossil-fuel for heating, cooking, hot water or clothes drying;
2. is attached to a garage; or
3. have a gas or wood burning fireplace.

Owner’s Responsibility: The owner must:
1. Provide and install a CO alarm outside all sleeping areas;
2. Test and maintain CO alarm, except in rental property;
3. Provide tenants with written information on alarm testing and maintenance.

Occupant’s responsibility: In rental property the occupant is responsible for testing, maintaining and replacing batteries.

Type of CO Alarm: Any CO alarm that is certified by a nationally recognized testing labratory will meet the requirements of our code. A device that combines a smoke alarm and a CO alarm is acceptable.

New Construction: All new construction of dwelling units must have CO alarms that are wired to an AC primary source of power and have a battery powered back up.


NEW VIOLATIONS:

CO Alarm - Hard Wired, New Construction Only
Sec. 1211.4.1 BFRCBC Carbon Monoxide Alarms not installed properly. Carbon Monoxide Alarms installed in newly constructed dwellings are to be wired to an AC primary source of power and have a battery powered back up. Install proper carbon monoxide alarms.

CO Alarm – Not Installed – Issue to Owner
Sec. 1211.3.3 BFRCBC - Area outside of a sleeping area lacks a carbon monoxide alarm. Install an approved carbon monoxide alarm. This violation must be corrected within five (5) days of receipt of notice.

CO Alarm – Improperly Installed – Issue to Owner
Sec. 1211.3.4 BFRCBC - Carbon monoxide alarm not properly installed. Install an approved carbon monoxide alarm outside of all sleeping areas in the dwelling unit.
Install the carbon monoxide alarm in accordance with: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 720, Standard for the Installation of Household Carbon Monoxide
(CO) Warning Equipment in Dwelling Units; or the manufacturer’s recommendations. This violation must be corrected within five (5) days of receipt of notice.

CO Alarm Battery defective - Issue to Occupant
Sec. 1211.3.2 BFRCBC - Carbon Monoxide Alarm not properly maintained. The owner of rental property is responsible for providing a carbon monoxide alarm and the occupants are responsible for testing, maintaining and replacing batteries in the carbon monoxide alarm. Replace batteries.


THE RELEVANT CODES:

Building, Fire and Related Codes of Baltimore City

SECTION 1211 CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS.

1211.1 Definitions. In this § 1211, the following terms have the meaning indicated.

1211.1.1 Carbon monoxide alarm. “Carbon monoxide alarm” means a device that:
1. senses carbon monoxide,
2. when sensing carbon monoxide, emits a distinct and audible sound, and
3. is certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory that has been approved by:
a. the Office of the State Fire Marshal, or
b. for dwellings subject to this section but not to State Public Safety Article Title 12 {“Building and Material Codes”}, Subtitle 11 {“Carbon Monoxide Alarms”}, either:
i. the Office of the State Fire Marshall, or
ii. the City Fire Code Official.

1211.1.2 Dwelling. “Dwelling” includes a hotel, motel, boarding house, rooming house, or other building or part of a building that provides living or sleeping facilities for 1 or more individuals.

1211.2 Scope. This § 1211 applies to any dwelling, whether newly constructed or already existing, that:
1. uses gas- or fossil-fuel for heating, cooking, hot water, or clothes-drying operations,
2. is attached to a garage, or
3. has a gas- or wood-burning fireplace.

1211.3 Installation and maintenance required.

1211.3.1 Owners’ responsibilities. In every dwelling subject to this section, the owner of the dwelling must:
1. supply and install 1 or more carbon monoxide alarms,
2. except for alarms in a tenant-occupied dwelling unit, test and maintain these alarms according to their manufacturers’ guidelines, and
3. for alarms in a tenant-occupied dwelling unit, provide written information on alarm testing and maintenance to at least 1 adult occupant of that unit.

1211.3.2 Occupants’ responsibilities. For carbon monoxide alarms located in a tenant-occupied dwelling unit, the tenant must:
1. test and maintain the alarms according to their manufacturers’ guidelines, and
2. replace batteries as needed.

1211.3.3 Required locations. A carbon monoxide alarm must be installed in a central location outside of each sleeping area in the dwelling.

1211.3.4 Method of installation. Installation of an alarm must be by attachment to a wall or ceiling in accordance with:
1. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 720, Standard for the Installation of Household Carbon Monoxide (CO)Warning Equipment in Dwelling Units; or
2. the manufacturer’s recommendations.

1211.4 Power source.

1211.4.1 Dwellings subject to State law. For a newly constructed dwelling to which State Public Safety Article Title 12 {“Building and Material Codes”}, Subtitle 11 {“Carbon Monoxide Alarms”} applies, the carbon monoxide alarm must be wired into an alternating current (AC) power line with battery backup.

1211.4.2 Other dwellings. For an existing or newly constructed dwelling to which State Public Safety Article Title 12, Subtitle 11, does not apply, the alarm must be:
1. hardwired into an alternating current (AC) power line, with battery backup,
2. plugged into an electrical outlet not controlled by a switch, with battery backup, or
3. battery-powered.

1211.5 Light signal for hearing impaired. The owner of a rental unit must provide a carbon monoxide alarm that is designed (and has been tested and certified by an approved testing laboratory) to alert persons with hearing impairments, if the tenancy is occupied by a person who is hearing impaired and the tenant has asked for the alarm in writing by certified or registered mail.

1211.6 Combined CO and smoke alarms. A carbon monoxide alarm may be combined\ with a smoke alarm if the combined device complies with:
1. all state and local laws that, at the time of installation, govern these devices, and
2. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards 217 and 2034.

1211.7 Tampering, etc., prohibited. Except as needed for repair or routine maintenance, no person may:
1. remove or disconnect a required carbon monoxide alarm,
2. remove batteries from a required carbon monoxide alarm, or
3. in any way, render a required carbon monoxide alarm inoperable.

(Ord. 08-059; Ord. 09-218.) MD Ann. Code - Pubic Safety § 12-1102. Scope.
This subtitle only applies to a dwelling that:
(1) relies on the combustion of a fossil fuel for heat, ventilation, hot water, or clothes dryer operation; and
(2) is a newly constructed dwelling for which a building permit is issued on or after January 1, 2008.