First it was smoke alarms, now it's carbon monoxide alarms. All single-family and two-family homes in Wisconsin are required to have carbon monoxide detectors by today, Feb. 1st, according to a recent news release from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.
This comes on the heels of Madison's smoke alarm ordinance that went into effect in 2010 requiring hard-wired or 10-year battery-powered smoke alarms in bedrooms, as well as on all floors of any type of residence.
Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is a byproduct of combustion that is colorless, odorless and tasteless and considered the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the United States, according to the American Medical Association.
"CO alarms have shown their effectiveness in alerting occupants to the presence of this poisonous gas," said Paul Jadin, Wisconsin's new secretary of commerce.
Homes being built after Feb. 1st, 2011 in Wisconsin will have to have CO detectors hard-wired into the home electrical system with backup battery supply, while existing dwellings may use battery-powered, stand-alone alarms.
Alarms are required in the basement and on every floor of a dwelling, except for attics and garages.
The law only applies to dwellings that contain CO sources, such as furnaces, fireplaces, heaters, cooking sources that use coal, wood, etc., and also residences with garages.
Basically, unless you have a totally electric home and no attached garage, you'll need CO alarms.
So sorry, Tweetie Bird isn't going to cut it anymore. You'll need an electronic carbon monoxide detector. The alarms are widely available at retailers and usually cost in the $15 to $30 range. Some companies also make dual smoke and CO alarms.