As you may have heard, the State of Oregon implemented some strict new rules this year regarding carbon monoxide detectors. This affects both homesellers and landlords with rental properties. Here is a quick summary of the new laws. And, here is the official Carbon Monoxide Q&A on the state website.

People who are selling homes that include carbon monoxide sources must have one or more properly functioning carbon monoxode detector alarms before transfering the title. These detectors are also required in new construction homes and homes undergoing major renovation. Landlords must install detector alarms in any rental that includes a carbon monoxide source.

These include properties with attached garages, as cars can be a source of carbon monoxide. Other sources include appliances and heaters powered by petroleum, coal or wood and equipment powered by gasoline or internal combustion engines. The only real exception to this law is a property that is completely electric that does not have an enclosed garage.

The alarms should be placed in an electrical outlet close to the floor within 15 feet of any bedroom or sleeping area. Usually one per level will suffice, but larger floor plans may need more. In my opinion, a combination carbon monoxide/smoke alarm may not be very effective, as carbon monoxide tends to stay close to the floor and smoke rises.

Carbon monoxide alarms are easily available at most hardware stores and major retailers, like Fred Meyers. One unit will cost about $30, but you might get a discount if buying in bulk.

I also recommend testing your alarm regularly to make sure the back up battery works and so you know what it sounds like. One time, in a new home I was living in, we didn’t even know we had one and the alarm went off when the battery died. We didn’t know where the sound was coming from, and had we known we could have solved the problem more quickly.

If the alarm does go off, get everyone inside the home outside. Call either the gas company or 911, depending on the circumstnces.

If you have questions about this or any other Oregon state housing law or rule, please let me know. I’m always happy to help.