Law/Regulations · Real Estate · Selling Real Estate

Washington State Residents, Did you know…

Did you know that effective July 1, 2010 Washington state adopted the 2009 International Building, Residential, Mechanical and Fire Codes?

One change that is of particular interest to the real estate market is the requirement that all existing residences (Residential Building Group R1, R2 and R3) sold on or after July 1, 2011 must have carbon monoxide (CO2) alarms (complying with UL 2034) installed based on this new code and the manufacturer’s installation instructions. This means sellers will be required to install them before selling. Fortunately, a seller should be able to easily purchase carbon monoxide detectors in the smoke alarm section of any local building or hardware store or department.

Starting January 1, 2011 all new construction homes (Residential Building Group R-1, R-2 and R-3) will also be required to have CO2 detectors installed.

According to the Washington State Building Code Counsel, Group R-1 includes hotels & motels, R-2 includes apartments and R-3 single family, except owner occupied single family.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engine-powered equipment such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that on average, about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products. These products include malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters; engine-powered equipment such as portable generators; fireplaces; and charcoal that is burned in homes and other enclosed areas. In 2005 alone, CPSC staff is aware of at least 94 generator-related CO poisoning deaths. Forty-seven of these deaths were known to have occurred during power outages due to severe weather, including Hurricane Katrina. Still others die from CO produced by non-consumer products, such as cars left running in attached garages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that several thousand people go to hospital emergency rooms every year to be treated for CO poisoning.

For more information about this upcoming change check out the Washington State Building Code Counsel or your local building code office.

For information about the dangers of carbon monoxide, refer to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Please note that I am not endorsing the above brand of CO2 detector, I merely included a picture to show what one looks like.  They look very similar to smoke detectors. There are also combo smoke and CO2 detectors on the market.

And now for my disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer, so please consult a legal professional if you have questions.

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