Carbon monoxide law in Illinois complies with Public Act 094-0741. The law requires that a carbon monoxide detector be installed within 15 feet of each sleeping area in a dwelling unit.

The carbon monoxide detector may be combined with a smoke alarm provided that the detector differentiates between the two types of warnings.

In an apartment building, the law requires that a carbon monoxide detector be present within 15 feet of each sleeping area in each unit.

The responsibility to supply and install all alarms rests on the owner of the building. It is the tenant’s responsibility to test and maintain the alarms. The tenants are also responsible to notify the owner or designated official in writing about problems that they cannot correct themselves.

The tenant is responsible for replacing the batteries in the detector, but the owner is responsible to make sure the batteries are working when the tenant first moves in. The tenant should let the owner know in writing about problems the tenant cannot correct.

The carbon monoxide detector may be battery-operated, plug in with battery backup, or wired into the building’s air conditioning powerline with secondary battery backup.

Intentional failure to install or maintain a carbon monoxide detector is a Class B misdemeanor.

Tampering with, removing, destroying, disconnecting, or removing the batteries from an installed carbon monoxide detector, except in the course of inspection, replacement, or maintenance, is a Class A misdemeanor upon first conviction. Second conviction and subsequent convictions are Class 4 felonies.

Residential units that do not rely on combustion of fossil fuel for heat, ventilation, or hot water or without an attached garage do not require a carbon monoxide detector. A residential unit that is not sufficiently close to any source of carbon monoxide, so as to be at risk of receiving carbon monoxide from that source, as determined by the local building commissioner, is exempt.

More awareness is needed about this law. Many tenants know very little about carbon monoxide other than it is something that comes out of a car engine and can kill you if you sit in your garage with a car running. That a tenant could be found liable for a crime for not replacing batteries when due, is clearly not well understood. The State of Illinois should fund a public awareness campaign to spread these warnings about these warning devices.

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