RCW 19.27.530 requires that all Sellers of owner occupied properties in WA State must equip the home with a carbon monoxide (CO) detector before a Buyer may legally occupy the residence following the sale and all residential rental properties must also be equipped with a CO detector.

Initially, the common practice was to install CO detectors low due to the myth that CO is heavier than air.  When in reality, CO is slightly lighter than air and diffuses evenly throughout the room.  Manufacturer recommendations vary widely so follow the specific guidelines of the CO detector that you are installing.


  • Centrally located near or in each separate sleeping area, which means that if there are 2 separate sleeping areas on 1 floor, there should be a detector in each of those areas
  • On each level of the home – if a basement is present, a detector should be placed at the top of the basement stairs
  • Near furnaces or fuel burning appliances (except as noted below) but no closer than 15-20′
  • In well used rooms of the house if possible
  • Select a location where the detector will stay clean and out of the way of children and pets


  • Garages
  • Kitchens
  • Furnace rooms
  • Extremely dusty, dirty, humid or greasy areas
  • Avoid direct sun or areas subjected to temperature extremes such as unfinished attics
  • Don’t install in outlets covered by window coverings or other obstructions or where there is turbulent air such as near a ceiling fan
  • Don’t install directly above or beside fuel burning appliances, within 15’ of heating or cooking appliances or in or near very humid areas such as bathrooms and utility rooms

Again, it is key to follow the specific manufacturer’s directions as they do vary.

Research provided by Larry Stamp of Cameo Home Inspection Services.

Tell me what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s