2018-03-14 / Front Page

Time To Power-Up Older Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detectors

Fire officials have issued their annual reminder urging Queens residents to check batteries in Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors and replace the devices or batteries as required.

Carbon monoxide (CO2) is a highly toxic gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating. It is also poisonous and can be fatal. The warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness and nausea, fire officials said.

City laws mandate installation of Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors in all residences. Under current law, landlords and tenants share responsibility for maintenance and continued operation of the devices. The following is a breakdown of those responsibilities

Landlords must provide and install at least one UL-approved Carbon Monoxide detector and smoke detector in each dwelling unit in buildings they own. The alarms must be installed within fifteen feet of the entrance to each bedroom.

Landlords must file a Certificate of Satisfactory Installation to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) office in Queens, within 10 days from the date of installation.

Landlords must post a notice, in a form approved by HPD, in a common area of the building informing tenants of the requirements of Local Law #7 (Carbon Monoxide Compliance Law).

Landlords must provide tenants with written information regarding the testing and maintenance of carbon monoxide and smoke alarms – including general information on CO2 poisoning and what to do if the alarms sound.

Landlords must keep records on the installation and maintenance of the alarms, and they must maintain the alarms β€œin good repair.”

If landlords install carbon monoxide detectors with batteries that can be replaced, the landlord must provide new batteries before the devices stop working.

If landlords install detectors with a power system that cannot be replaced, the landlord must replace them with UL-approved devices before they stop working.

HPD inspectors will issue violations to landlords for their failure to install the detectors.

Failure to install Carbon Monoxide detectors is a Class B Violation that carries civil penalties ranging from $25 to $100, and an additional $10 per day for each violation. Failure to provide proper notices to tenants or certificates of installation is a Class A Violation carrying possible civil penalties of up to $50.

Tenants who experience difficulty with landlords regarding replacement devices or installation of new batteries should call 311 for assistance.

Under the law, tenants are not allowed to replace batteries on Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Landlords must replace devices or batteries and make notification when the replacements are completed.

A law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2015 requires manufacturers to install 10-year, non-removable batteries in all new smoke detectors. The measure is designed to discourage tampering and to ensure that the devices will continue to work, even if tenants and homeowners fail to check on batteries. The law also prohibited the sale of smoke detectors with traditional batteries as of January 1, 2017.

The long-life batteries make it difficult for homeowners and tenants to disable older model smoke detectors when they are activated by cooking and heavy cigarette smoke.

Installation of the new batteries also means tenants and homeowners with newer smoke and carbon monoxide detectors would no longer have to check on and change batteries approximately every six months.

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