Most homeowners fail to recognize the dangers from outdated smoke or CO alarms in their homes. Many homes do not have CO alarms, but every home should.
Florida Building Code
Florida Building Code requires every home built after July 1, 2008, to have carbon monoxide detectors installed if the home has a fossil-fuel burning heater or appliance (gas-fired), a fireplace, or an attached garage. Detectors must be placed within 10 feet of each sleeping room. Detectors may be stand-alone or dual smoke/carbon monoxide types. Units may be hard-wired, or battery operated.
Even in homes where smoke/CO detectors are found, we find nearly all are outdated. CO detectors expire after 6 years, and smoke detectors expire after 10 years. Home buyers should not rely upon property appraisers or home inspectors to determine the age of detectors. Generally, inspectors will note the presence of detectors only. Inspectors cannot determine the functionality of detectors by “pushing” the test button as that only determines if power is present to the audible alarm; it does not prove they will detect heat or carbon monoxide.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Each year, 200-300 people are poisoned from carbon monoxide gas in their homes. Most are attributed to faulty gas-fired, heating devices such as water heaters, furnaces, or gas fireplace units. Recently, there have been deaths associated with people, unknowingly, leaving their cars running in the garage. It may sound strange, but cars are much quieter today and when people get distracted by children, pets, telephones, or a number of other things which distract us daily, it is easy to understand how this can happen. Think about this the next time you pull into your garage.
Check Your Detectors
Look at your home, apartment, or workplace – do you think the detectors may be outdated? Remember, you should replace carbon monoxide detectors every 6 years and smoke detectors every 10 years. Combination units should be replaced every 6 years.
Smoke and CO detectors are important safety protections for your home and family. Detectors typically cost less than $20 each. If you are unsure what you have, if they are functional, or if they should be replaced, have them checked by a local electrician or simply replace them with battery-operated units you can buy online or at most hardware stores.