Written by Cathie Elliott
Clarke Agency Gunnison, Colorado

On July 1, 2009 Colorado House Bill 1091 comes into effect. This legislation will require a seller of residential real property to install operational Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms within 15 feet of the entrance to each room used for sleeping. The law applies to all homes for sale with a fuel-fired heater or appliance, a fireplace, or an attached garage.

Carbon Monoxide is produced whenever any fuels such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal are burned. You can’t see or smell Carbon Monoxide, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes. If appliances that burn fuel are maintained and used properly, the amount of CO produced is usually not hazardous. However, if appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of CO can result.

At moderate levels, symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning include severe headaches, dizziness, mental confusion, nausea, or faintness. Low levels can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea, and mild headaches, as well as having longer-term effects on health. Since many of these symptoms are similar to those of the flu, food poisoning, or other illnesses, you may not think that CO poisoning could be the cause.

Carbon Monoxide detectors are widely available in stores. They can be battery powered, plug into a home’s electrical outlet and have a battery backup, or are connected to an electrical system via an electrical panel. They can also be combined with a smoke-detecting device, with a signal that clearly differentiates it between the two hazards.

Home buyers should make sure that any home they purchase conforms to the new legislation, by checking for the required number and type of CO detectors.

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