Carbon Monoxide Information

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors

CO is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas. It is produced when any fossil fuel, such as; propane, natural gas, coal, oil, or gasoline is burned, and a buildup is caused by insufficient oxygen supplies. Over-exposure to CO can cause CO poisoning, which can lead to serious illness, even death.

Effective January 1, 2007, CO detectors are required to be installed within 15 feet of all sleeping rooms of all dwelling units. This may require multiple detectors for your home or apartment. This applies to single-family homes, duplexes, townhouses, apartments, hotels, and motels.


There are various types of detectors that can be used: battery powered, plug-in with battery backup, and direct-wired in the building electric system with battery back-up. There are some combination smoke detectors that may be used. Please consult the product literature or manufacturer for compatibility with existing detectors.


The homeowner is responsible for the installation of the detector. If you occupy a rental unit, the installation is the landlord's responsibility. The State of Illinois Public Act 094-0741 requires the detector be in place by January 1, 2007. There are penalties in the act for noncompliance. A copy of the act is available on the Illinois General Assembly website.


Place detectors nearest to bedrooms as possible since you are most vulnerable to CO poisoning while sleeping. If your bedrooms are in different parts of the house, place separate detectors near each bedroom area.

If you live in an apartment building with forced air heat, make sure there's a detector in the boiler room as well as near the bedrooms. Do not place one near your kitchen, garage or in a room with a furnace.


It usually takes several hours or more for CO to increase to dangerous levels. If your CO detector goes off with illness, get out of the house immediately and call 9-1-1 from another location. The 9-1-1 dispatcher will dispatch the fire department ambulance.

If your CO detector goes off there is no illness, press the reset button to verify the presence of CO. If the alarm goes off again after five minutes, open your windows to allow fresh air into your home leave the house and call 9-1-1. The 9-1-1 dispatcher will dispatch the fire department to check for a CO leak in your home.

Please contact the Fire Department at 630-833-5350 with any questions.