A few things you might want to know (and should know) about that carbon monoxide detector in your apartment

By Emmalie Vance  | September 6, 2012 - 2:52PM

When moving into a new apartment, it’s understood that everything from the plumbing to the heat should be in working order (and someone else's responsibility), but what about the carbon monoxide (CO) detectors?

These little gadgets sometimes go unnoticed in the grand scheme of life, but there are some strict rules around their presence and maintenance.

The Real Estate Board of New York recently put together a set of guidelines for building managers and owners on some new rules, and many of the rules can help guide renters and individual apartment owners too.

Here are some key points you should know about both your own responsibilities and your building’s responsibilities regarding this little lifesaving device:

  • Local laws require residential property owners (meaning landlords, co-op boards, and homeowners; the law is grayer for condo boards, but REBNY recommends they follow suit)  to provide and install at least one carbon monoxide detector in every unit at a fixed rate of $25 per detector, or $35 for a combination smoke/CO detector.
  • To offset the cost, the building may also be allowed to charge back a reasonable amount for the unit plus installation.
  • The detector must be installed within 15 feet of the main entrance to each sleeping area/bedroom and be equipped with an end-of-life alarm.
  • New and renovated properties are required to have hardwired CO detectors.
  • Residents are responsible for keeping CO detectors or systems in good repair.
  • Residents should test the detectors once a month and batteries should be replaced twice a year or immediately if a low battery warning is heard. Upon moving into a new place, it is suggested that all batteries be changed immediately to avoid confusion.
  • The usual lifespan of a detector is approximately seven years, and they should be replaced accordingly, preferably all at once to avoid confusion.


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