ASHRAE Proposes CO Alarm Standard
Oct 1, 2009
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ASHRAE is proposing that carbon monoxide alarms be required in homes.

Under proposed addendum l to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.2-2007, Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings, carbon monoxide alarms would be required to be installed outside of each sleeping area. The proposed addendum is open for public comment until Oct. 26, 2009.

Nine other addenda, unrelated to CO, also are open for review. Steve Emmerich, chair of the Standard 62.2 Committee, said that as the standard becomes more widely used as a result of its adoption into building codes and green building programs, several clarifications are being addressed through proposed changes.

ASHRAE says that carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning leads to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year in homes. Such poisoning results primarily from automobiles left running in attached garages but also from portable generators, power tools and heaters, according to Emmerich. A small fraction of poisonings also result from failed central heating combustion appliances.

Whether to include CO alarms as a requirement in the standard has been discussed since the standard was first proposed. Debate has focused on the unreliability and cost of alarms. But Emmerich said the committee believes the time has come to make this change, noting that it will bring the standard into closer alignment with the 2009 International Residential Code, which requires alarms if the house has combustion appliances or attached garages, and with many states that have passed laws requiring CO alarms.

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