NR 1/6/17 Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirement for Maryland Rental Properties


Carbon Monoxide Alarms – Maryland Rental Properties

        In 2016, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 0849 and its companion Senate Bill 0182. Both bills require the installation of carbon monoxide alarms for any new and existing rental dwelling units. This includes any type of dwelling unit that can be rented to an individual or family.

        This legislation requires that a carbon monoxide alarm (CO) be installed outside of each sleeping area and on every level to include the basement in a building that contains any fuel burning equipment, wood burning appliance or has an enclosed attached garage. They are not required in rental dwelling units that are powered solely by an electric power supply.  

        Carbon monoxide alarms can be hardwired with a battery backup, battery powered that has a ten year battery with a sealed tamper resistant compartment or connected to an on-site control unit that monitors the carbon monoxide alarm remotely so that a responsible party is alerted when the device activates the alarm signal and receives its primary power from a battery or the control unit. Our recommendation for multi-family units is to replace the current hard wired smoke alarm with a combination smoke alarm/carbon monoxide alarm unit. The applicable requirements of Title 9 of the Public Safety Article regarding the installation of smoke detection systems would still apply for this installation.

        The installation of the carbon monoxide alarms shall be in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations and NFPA 720 for the Installation of Carbon Monoxide Warning Equipment in Dwelling Units. Carbon monoxide alarms must be listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory that is approved by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. 

        Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, tasteless, and potentially toxic gas that is produced by the incomplete combustion of liquid fuels, solid fuels, or natural gases.  Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause symptoms similar to the flu, such as: headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and irritability.   High concentrations of CO can cause vomiting, loss of consciousness, and even death.  Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur in small amounts over a long period of time and in large amounts in a short period of time.

        Although earlier is highly recommended, carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in all rental dwelling units by April 1, 2018.  

CO Placement

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is an agency of the Department of State Police dedicated to helping protect citizens from fire and explosion through a comprehensive program of education, inspection, investigation and fire protection engineering.  For more information on fire safety call 1-800-525-3124, log onto our website at: Maryland State Fire Marshal and/or our Facebook Page.