Of these 10 CO facts, I saved this one for last in the hopes it clears away some common misconceptions, and it usually stirs up a lot of discussion too. Feel free to share your comments below.
Section 188.8.131.52 of the 2012 edition of NFPA 720 requires CO detection to be installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms and on every occupiable level of a dwelling unit, including basements, but excluding attics and crawl spaces.
184.108.40.206* Carbon monoxide alarms or detectors shall be installed as follows:
- Outside of each separate dwelling unit sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms
- On every occupiable level of a dwelling unit, including basements, excluding attics and crawl spaces
- Other locations where required by applicable laws, codes, or standards
Since the molecular weight of CO is almost identical to air and it mixes quickly within a building, Section 220.127.116.11 permits each alarm or detector to be located on the wall, ceiling, or other location as specified in the manufacturer’s published instructions.
18.104.22.168 Each alarm or detector shall be located on the wall, ceiling, or other location as specified in the manufacturer’s published instructions that accompany the unit.
It’s important to point out that NFPA 720 requires the audible alarm notification signal to be at least 75dBA at the pillow in sleeping areas. If the detector is installed outside the sleeping area is unable to produce 75dBA at the pillow, with the door closed, a CO detector or a mini horn should be installed in the sleeping room.
For non sleeping locations in hotels, dormitories and apartment buildings, section 22.214.171.124.1 requires CO detectors to be installed on the ceiling in the same room as permanently installed fuel-burning appliances or centrally located on every habitable level and in every HVAC zone of the building
126.96.36.199.1 Carbon monoxide detectors shall be installed as specified in the manufacturer’s published instructions in accordance with 188.8.131.52.1(1) and 184.108.40.206.1(2), or 220.127.116.11.1(3):
- *On the ceiling in the same room as permanently installed fuel-burning appliances
- *Centrally located on every habitable level and in every HVAC zone of the building
- A performance-based design in accordance with 18.104.22.168.2
The reason NFPA 720 requires CO detectors to be located on the ceiling above permanently installed fuel-burning appliances is because of the buoyancy of the heated combustion gases as compared to normal ambient temperatures.
About the Author
Richard Roberts is Industry Affairs Manager at Honeywell Fire Safety with over 30 years in the fire alarm and carbon monoxide market. His experience spans the installation, sales, and product development of code-compliant products and systems. Currently, Mr. Roberts is a member of eight NFPA Technical Committees and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA) and Chair of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Smoke & CO Committee and Building Codes Committee.