Trade association GAMA (Arlington, VA, U.S.) revised its policy with respect to the installation of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. GAMA represents manufacturers of appliances, components and related products used for space heating, water heating and other building services.
GAMA now supports mandates for the installation of CO alarms in residences containing only fuel-fired appliances, but at the same time urges that the mandate be broadened to include all residences regardless of their heating source. The association's previous policy was to support only mandates requiring the installation of CO alarms in all residences.
GAMA recommends CO alarms installed in residences should be listed to ANSI UL 2034, "Standard for Single and Multiple Station Carbon Monoxide Alarms" or listed to standard CSA 6.19, "Residential Carbon Monoxide Detectors." GAMA recommends the detectors be installed outside each sleeping area, according to NFPA 720, "Standard for the Installation of Carbon Monoxide Warning Equipment in Dwelling Units." GAMA also recommends CO detectors have a battery backup to operate during power outages.
Why Put CO Detectors in Homes Without Fuel-Fired Appliances?
CO, sometimes called the "silent killer," is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, and oil) burn incompletely. Annual U.S. CO poisonings from incorrectly installed or maintained heating appliances are decreasing, but the CO accidents from all sources is not. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports at least 64 people died in 2005 from CO poisonings related to portable generators, often after hurricanes, ice storms, and blizzards. CPSC also reports that during the last quarter of 2006 (October-December), 32 carbon-monoxide deaths nationwide were related to consumers’ use of portable generators.
“Too many consumers are still subjected to hazardous levels of CO concentrations every year, sometimes fatally, when they improperly use gas generators, charcoal grills, and fuel-burning camping heaters and stoves inside their homes or in other enclosed or partially enclosed spaces,” explained GAMA President Jack Klimp. “Equipment such as gas generators and barbeque grills generate CO as a byproduct of combustion and can contribute to this serious problem. Running automobiles and generators in attached garages can also lead to dangerous levels of CO being introduced into a home.”
Contractors, service providers or a neighbor’s portable equipment operation can also produce a CO risk. A gas-powered tool such as a pressure washer placed outside a window, doorway or ventilation opening can fill a home with deadly CO in minutes.
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