09232017Headline:

Salt Lake City, Utah

HomeUtahSalt Lake City

Email Bret Hanna Bret Hanna on LinkedIn Bret Hanna on Twitter Bret Hanna on Facebook Bret Hanna on Avvo
Bret Hanna
Bret Hanna
Attorney • 435-649-2525

The Onset of Colder Weather Warrants Carbon Monoxide Danger Reminder

Comments Off

Depending on the source consulted, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning deaths account for somewhere between 200 and 700 deaths per year in the United States. For every death, approximately 5 more people will end up in the hospital with CO related injuries. Such injuries can include memory loss, learning disabilities and personality changes.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, children are far more susceptible to CO poisoning because they require more oxygen than adults and they use that oxygen faster. In addition, children do not have fully developed central nervous systems and that also makes them more susceptible to the permanent toxic effects of CO exposure.

Potential sources of CO poisoning include furnaces, hot water heaters and stoves that use natural gas, heating oil, wood or other combustible fuels. They also include chimneys, flues and vents that can crack and leak or become blocked. In addition, high temperature plastic appliance vent pipes can also separate or crack and allow CO leakage. In sum, any vented appliance that is not properly vented can be a source of carbon monoxide in the home. Finally, one very popular household item can also be a deadly source of CO poisoning – the grill and that includes charcoal grills. Never use them an enclosed spaces such as inside the home or garage, or inside a vehicle or a tent. The same is true of commonly used gas generators – don't use them in or near living spaces.

Taking precautions against CO poisoning is not that difficult. The primary defense is installation of CO detectors in the correct locations. Use only United Laboratories (UL) approved detectors (check the packaging and the unit housing for the prominent display of the UL endorsement). Install hardwired, or direct electrical current detectors where ever possible. These units will have a battery back up that kicks in if there is a power outage. If a battery only detector is the only option, make sure you buy one that has an LED indicator that tells you whether or not the unit is powered properly.

Install CO detectors in every sleeping area in the home. Do not try to "bundle" the use of detectors by installing detectors in common areas between sleeping areas, such as hallways. Every sleeping area needs a detector, no exceptions. Also, keep CO detectors at least 15 feet from any fuel burning appliance since such appliances are the most likely sources of a CO release that does not indicate a real danger. Check batteries on a regular schedule and do not assume that a good battery means that the detector is operating properly. To make sure of that, test the gas detection function using an artificial CO aerosol such as Detectagas.

A number of states require that CO detectors be used in particular living spaces. The link to current state statutes is here:

http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=13238

The Utah statute is here:

Utah

Utah Admin. Code § R156-56-802(16)

Utah Code Ann. § 10-8-53.5

Utah Code Ann. § 17-50-327

Requires carbon monoxide alarms on each habitable level in new residential structures regulated by state residential code that are equipped with fuel burning appliances.

Prohibits a municipality from enforcing any ordinance, rule or regulation requiring the installation or maintenance of carbon monoxide detectors in a residential dwelling against anyone other than the occupant of the dwelling. Does not affect building permit applicants where building code requires the installation of carbon monoxide detectors as part of new construction.

Prohibits a county from enforcing any ordinance, rule or regulation requiring the installation or maintenance of carbon monoxide detectors in a residential dwelling against anyone other than the occupant of the dwelling. Does not affect building permit applicants where building code requires the installation of carbon monoxide detectors as part of new construction.Prohibits a county from enforcing any ordinance, rule or regulation requiring the installation or maintenance of carbon monoxide detectors in a residential dwelling against anyone other than the occupant of the dwelling. Does not affect building permit applicants where building code requires the installation of carbon monoxide detectors as part of new construction.

The best defense to CO dangers is being informed and prepared. Look around your living space and find ways to make it safer for all who inhabit it.