Are you breaking the law in Washington State- CO alarm requirements?

Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Are you breaking the law in Washington State-  CO alarm requirements?

You may be and do not even it know it.

January 1, 2011, state law required CO alarms to be installed in all new single family homes and residences, including apartments, condominiums, hotels, and motels.

                                         CO Alarm Wenatchee Home Inspection

The state law requires CO alarms be installed in existing apartments, condominiums, hotels, motels and single- family residences by January 1, 2013.

Owner-occupied single-family residences, legally occupied before July 26, 2009, are not required to have CO alarms until they are sold. The seller is required to equip the residence with CO alarms before any other person legally occupies the home. Substitute Senate Bill 6472 added CO alarms to the Purchase/Sale disclosure form in 2012.

                                                                      CO Alarm Plug in style Chelan Home Inspection

If your home does not currently have carbon monoxide detectors you will be required to install detectors when any major alteration, repair or addition occurs. This includes HVAC and plumbing work.

Local code officials will check for compliance with the CO alarm installation requirements when a permit is required for new construction and most alterations, repairs or additions.

CO alarm installation requirements

  1. Alarms must be located outside of each separate sleeping area, in the immediate vicinity of the bedroom and on each level of the residence.
  2. Single station carbon monoxide alarms must be listed as complying with UL 2034, and installed in accordance with the code and the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Combined CO and smoke alarms are permitted.

“If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Red Adair

NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service                                               509-670-9572


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Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Donald~ we can't have people breaking the law, that's not cool! Not knowing the law is not an excuse...

Jan 31, 2013 11:40 PM #1
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

wow- that is really interesting.  Have a good day.

Jan 31, 2013 11:48 PM #2
Rob Ernst
Certified Structure Inspector - Reno, NV
Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor

I didn't know Washington had adopted that law. I know California did. I think they are a good idea for every home and I recommend one to everybody. It doesn't look like that law will happen here. The deaths from CO are a small number and usually happens to men using kerosene heaters in spaces that wouldn't have the CO meter anyways. I still think it's cheap insurance.

Feb 01, 2013 01:07 AM #3
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

California started requiring CO alarms in 2012 and expanded the requirement as of Jan. 1, 2013. Like smoke alarms, they are cheap insurance for the lives of the occupants.

Appraisal issues can arise if the subject dwelling does not have a CO alarm especially if doing an FHA loan. The appraiser will report the lack of the CO alarm and the loan will not fund until the appraiser returns, at extra cost, to take a picture of the alarm for the lender.


Feb 01, 2013 02:06 AM #4
Jim Mushinsky
Centsable Inspection - Framingham, MA

I am amazed that the most common item I observe during an inspection is a disconnected smoke/CO detector.  Its the last componnent installed during new construction, yet the first to be disabled by the occupant/owner.


Feb 01, 2013 03:50 AM #5
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jon, No we would not want that. Most people just do not know that is what is required. That is where Realtors, HIs and contractors need to inform the public.


Cindy, Thank you.

Rob, When homes are sold they have to have them. Else legally they can not occupy the home. But most did not know how the law has gone into effect. 

John, most of the Realtors here are up on the law so when homes get listed they install them.

Jim, I think that is universal.

Feb 01, 2013 04:12 AM #6
Steven Cook
No Longer Processing Mortgages. - Tacoma, WA

Don -- it would be nice if they could get one that lasts more than just 5-7 years before it has to be replaced.  Good as it is, sounds like a law to create business for those who manufacture/sell them, when they might otherwise not be able to create a market.  BTW  it seems Washington is trying to match CA in all their laws.


Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Feb 01, 2013 05:04 AM #7
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Steve, That would be nice. I have a personal connection to the CO issues. I had a family member get CO poisoned.

Also there was a gentlemen in my area not too long ago that accidentantly killed himself and then his family from CO poisoning from auto exhaust.

Feb 01, 2013 05:10 AM #8
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

The main reason smoke and combination smoke/CO detectors are disabled is due to nuisance tripping and part of the reason why ASHI now recommends Photo eletric type only for smokes and no combination alarms if they are ION/CO.

Feb 01, 2013 05:49 AM #9
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

It is important that families are protected. The CO and fire alarms are well worth the small cost.

Feb 01, 2013 10:55 AM #10
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Oh no!  You mean my newly-painted Redskin colored CO and smoke detectors are no good anymore?  Say it ain't so!




Ok, I didn't really paint them...  But I HAVE seen painted ones during inspections!

Feb 01, 2013 06:45 PM #11
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Charlie, I am with you on that one.

Jaon, So true.

Jay, Hey I have a new product line for Billy jays, Detector Skins, Show your love for your team and dress up your detector!!!

Feb 01, 2013 10:32 PM #12
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Donald Hester

NCW Home Inspections, LLC
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