So let’s continue your Chicago condo inspection and check for smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors.
Pushing test button on smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors may only confirm that unit is mechanically functional and it has power. This test does not guarantee proper response to smoke, flame and / or CO presence.
Put this smoke alarm testing reminder on your refrigerator, message board… whatever, just remember to do it often!
You can involve your kids into the smoke alarm testing and have them mark the schedule every week.
The minimum smoke detector requirement in Chicago is to have that life saving device installed within 15′ from the sleeping area (NEC requirement is one detector inside every bedroom).
If you have a very long hallway, bedrooms located on the opposite sides of a large condo, additional smoke detector would be most likely required. If your condo unit has more than one level, at least one smoke detector is required on each floor, even if there’s no sleeping area.
Your new or gut-rehabbed condo must have a hard wired (with battery backup) smoke detector. For the remodeled properties where wall finishes were not removed only battery operated smoke detectors are required.
Look at the location of the smoke detector on your condo wall or ceiling. There’s a triangle shaped dead air space where the ceiling meets the wall, and your smoke detector must not be installed within that area (4″ from the wall – ceiling corner projected onto the ceiling and wall).
Chicago Building Department – smoke detectors requirements
If the Chicago condo unit you’re purchasing includes any fuel burning appliances (kitchen range, gas dryer, gas furnace, gas water heater, fireplace, etc. ), there must be a Carbon Monoxide detector installed within fifteen (15′) feet of all rooms used for sleeping (in most cases it will be installed next to the smoke detector / there might be a combination type detector installed).
Check the brand of your Carbon Monoxide detector and if your condo developer left no manufacturer instructions, find information about your particular model online.
Carbon Monoxide detectors have a shorter lifespan than smoke detectors, and many models will only function properly for about 2 years. Some manufacturers claim up to 6 years on new CO detector models, and they might have a audible notification feature letting you know that replacement is required.
Chicago Fire Department – Carbon Monoxide Detectors
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This article was written by Dariusz Rudnicki
I'm a retired Illinois home inspector, founder and editor of checkthishouse.com, a blog which attracts around 2 thousand readers daily and is dedicated to answering the many questions of home owners and home buyers. Connect with me on Google+ Find me on Google+ Local