A new law requiring carbon monoxide detectors takes effect on November 1st:

The new law (Local Law 7 of 2004) requires at least one carbon monoxide detecting device within 15 feet of sleeping rooms in Class A multiple dwellings and private dwellings; buildings which are within occupancy groups J-1, J-2, or J-3; and buildings classified in occupancy group G and H-2. Owners will be responsible for installing approved devices, while occupants would keep and maintain the devices in good repair. Owners would also be entitled to a reimbursement of $25 per device from tenants.

Thankfully, the carbon monoxide detectors come with good instructions: “WARNING! The Silence Feature is for your convenience only and will not correct the CO problem.” Otherwise, I might have thought, quite erroneously, that the carbon monoxide detector would magically purge the space of any dangerous CO gas upon pushing the silence button.

All joking aside, here are a few tips from the city:

  • While a CO detector may help to alert you to the presence of elevated CO levels, it is important to make sure that plumbing, heating and other gas powered equipment in your home is properly maintained and serviced regularly by a licensed professional.
  • Keep chimneys clean and maintain chimney flues.
  • Do not attempt to heat your home with the oven. Burning gas in a closed house or apartment uses up oxygen and produces deadly carbon monoxide gases.
  • Never keep your car idling in the garage and never turn on gas-powered equipment, such as snow blowers, chainsaws or generators inside your home and garage.
  • Kerosene heaters are dangerous and illegal in New York City. If you use electric heaters make sure that they are U.L. rated, and kept away from any combustible materials such as draperies and linens. Unplug electric blankets and portable electric heaters when not in use.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke detector in every bedroom and on every level. Check and change the batteries often.
  • You can check if a repair company has a plumber’s or oil burner installer’s license online by using the Building Information System at www.nyc.gov/buildings

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