Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements

Beginning April 1, 2012 sellers are required to equip owner-occupied single family homes with Carbon Monoxide alarms at the time of sale.  This includes single family homes, condominiums and manufactured/mobile homes.  The carbon monoxide detector requirements began with the passing of RCW 19.27.530.

The building code (WAC 51-51-0315) requires that an alarm be installed: (1) outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of each bedroom; (2) on each level of the dwelling; and (3) in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. The building code also requires that single station carbon monoxide alarms comply with UL 2034. 2 There are no exceptions for properties that do not have fuel-fired appliances or an attached garage.

There have been several revisions and changes in timelines since the passing of RCW 19.27.530.  As a result of legislation that passed three sessions ago, starting April 1, 2012 a seller is responsible to ensure that the home is equipped with Carbon Monoxide alarms at the time of sale. As a result of SB 6472, Real Estate Licensees will be protected from all liability in the event the seller fails to meet this requirement. The Seller Disclosure form (Form 17) will also be amended to include a question on whether or not Carbon Monoxide alarms are present in the house.

Remember, this is applicable to all homes, not just homes with gas appliance &/or heat.  Even homes that only use electric still need to meet these requirements.

Battery operated detectors start at approximately $20.00 at Home Depot and can be found at most hardware or home improvement stores.

Summary:  When Selling Your Home

  • Carbon monoxide alarms requirement begins April 1st 2012
  • Seller must install any owner occupied home
  • Purchase & Sale will be revised
  • Form 17 will be revised
  • Carbon Monoxide detector must be installed outside every bedroom
  • Carbon Monoxide detector must be installed on each level of home.
  • Also, there are reports that appraisers will be required to verify carbon monoxide alarms in their reports

Why was this put into place?  This is the published “intent” from the legislature:

“The legislature recognizes that carbon monoxide poses a serious threat. According to national statistics from the centers for disease control, carbon monoxide kills more than five hundred people and accounts for an estimated twenty thousand emergency department visits annually. Specifically, Washington state has experienced the dire effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. In the storms that struck Washington in December 2006, it was estimated that over one thousand people in the state were seen at hospital emergency rooms with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, and eight people reportedly died of carbon monoxide exposure. It is the intent of the legislature to implement policies to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.”

Washington State Department of Health (pdf)

Additional information from Dept. of Health