Washington state has a new law mandating the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in homes that goes into effect Jan. 1, according to the Associated Press and other media reports.

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-12-05/wash-dot-carbon-monoxide-alarm-condition-added-jan-dot-1

The genesis of the new, broader law is pretty interesting. The Legislature amended the state building code when there was a bad windstorm in Puget Sound in December 2006, AP reported. That storm caused power outages, and ended up with hundreds of people being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

There were also eight deaths, those who died of carbon monoxide poisoning after using generators or barbecues in their homes to keep warm, according to AP.

The legislation is stricter than current Washington law, which had only required carbon monoxide detectors in newly constructed buildings starting in 2011. The new regulation is much broader, requiring the detectors in existing dwellings, such as apartments, hotels, condos dorms and “residential institutions,” AP reported.

In addition, as of the new year home owners must have carbon monoxide detectors in their houses if they sell them.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a bigger risk in the Northwest not only because that area has a lot of storms, but because many homes have been carefully insulated and sealed to conserve energy, according to AP. That means any fumes can’s escape a house.

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