Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements | Chicago Condo


Requirements for the smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors / alarms installation in the city of Chicago are slightly different than those from NEC (National Electrical Code). So if you’re moving from the Chicago suburbs or other states into the Windy City you’re actually going to need LESS smoke, fire and Carbon Monoxide protection.

If you need a smoke alarm you can get one by clicking any of the images below:


So let’s continue your Chicago condo inspection and check for smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors.

If you need a smoke alarm you can do some research by visiting Amazon to see what’s most popular

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.


Smoke alarm testing schedule sheet to print and place it in your home Click on the image (link opens in a new window) and print your smoke alarm testing schedule for the entire year.

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.


Smoke detectors requirement in Chicago

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).

  • Smoke detector wall installation must be within 4″ – 12″ from the ceiling

Chicago condo inspection - smoke detectors installation areasChicago condo inspection - smoke detectors and forced air heatingSmoke detector ceiling installation must be not closer than 4″ from the wall

  • If you have a central heating / air conditioning system – smoke detectors must be at least 36” away from the air supply and not between the air return and a bedroom. If your condo unit has a single air return installed in the hallway, located 15′ or more from the bedroom door, complying with that second requirement will not be possible …
  • Do a little better than you have to in Chicago and install smoke detector in each bedroom
  • Check the top of the enclosed staircase (if non combustible – metal or concrete) for a smoke and CO detector (or combo). For combustible stairs or separated floors one should be installed on each floor.
  • Smoke detectors recalls and some more important facts
  • Smoke alarm maintenance – that’s a routine you need to implement into your life…

Chicago Building Department – smoke detectors requirements

Carbon Monoxide detectors requirement in Chicago

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.

Find out more about CO alarm locations, and Carbon Monoxide alarm maintenance

Carbon Monoxide detectors have a shorter lifespan than smoke detectors, many older models were only functioning properly for about 2 years. Currently some manufacturers claim up to 10 years on new CO detector models, and they may have a audible notification feature letting you know that replacement is required.

Some current Carbon Monoxide Detector offers you can review:

Carbon Monoxide Information – Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Go ahead and check other sections of the

Chicago Condo Inspection Manual

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