Amanda's Law went into effect February 22, 2008 in NYS. This law requires all residences to have one or more carbon monoxide alarms installed and operational. Homes built after January 1st 2008 are required to have a CO alarm on any floor with a bedroom, and on any floor with a carbon monoxide source. This could mean three alarm units in a house with a second floor bedroom area, a fireplace in the living room, and a gas furnace in the basement. The alarms need to be hard wired into the electrical system with battery backup. For a house built before 2008, the requirement is essentially the same as for real estate sales, ie. one alarm on the lowest level bedroom area. The alarm can be battery operated or plug in. The law specifically forbids placing the alarm in the utitlity room with the heating plant, which is where most people install them. For more info the text of the law can be found at http://www.dos.state.ny.us/code/COAlarm.htm
CO Alarms vs. CO Detectors
Most of our clients are unaware of the limitations of UL listed Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms found in most stores. These alarms are designed to protect healthy individuals from death due to elevated CO levels. They do not alert homeowners to chronic low levels of CO that can be harmful to healthy people and deadly over time to compromised individuals. OSHA limits worker exposure to no more than 2 hours of exposure to levels of 30ppm, and rescue workers are required to put on respirators if levels exceed 35 parts per million, but CO alarms are designed not to alarm at these levels for a minimum of 30 days. They won't sound in a short time period of exposure until they reach levels of 70ppm or more.
This insensitivity is essentially by design. This may seem hard to believe, but accurate and sensitive CO monitors are expensive, and low cost inaccurate CO monitors, if they were allowed to register low levels of CO, would raise false alarms. Since most people aren't willing to pay for sensitive alarms, and cheap alarms that cause false alarms will just be turned off, the sensitivity was deliberately reduced.
We find elevated levels of CO in many homes that we inspect, and the owner's CO alarms have never made a peep. Now you know why. There is an alternative, if you're interested. That is to buy a true CO detector/monitor, rather than a CO alarm. These devices will give varying levels of warning at much lower exposures to CO. I have one in my house. Many inspectors that I know also have this type. We offer these detectors for sale at our office at a competitive price. Go to www.coexperts.com for more information about these detectors. Prices may vary, but as of this publication they are selling for $135. I believe that it is worth the price to actually know what the CO levels are in your home.
New Lead Certification Law
A new federal law went into effect as of April 22nd, 2010, that requires all renovation, remodeling and repair work on homes, apartments, and child occupied facilities built before 1978 to be done in a lead safe manner. It is called the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Final Rule, (40 CFR 745), commonly referred to as the RRP Rule. Firms working on these target dwellings must be certified and use lead-safe work practices. Non-certified workers must work under and be trained on-the-job by a specially trained "Certified Renovator". The Certified Renovator must have taken an approved 8 hour course in safe renovation and paint sampling practices, presented by an EPA-accredited provider.
The training includes information on the health problems related to lead paint, the certifications required to work with lead paint, how to determine if lead paint is present and how it will be affected by the work being done, how to set up the work area to contain dust, how to work in a lead-safe manner, how to clean up the work area, and verify that the area is sufficiently clean when done, how to dispose of waste safely, and how to document that safe practices were followed.
It is a tall order. This law will have a profound effect on our remodeling practices. While the enforcement of this new law will probably be spotty at first, the liability involved in failure to follow the required practices should contamination of a residence occur, will be extreme. Every contractor should get the required training immediately, buy the equipment necessary to operate in a safe manner and to perform adequate cleanup, and start documenting that work is being done in compliance with the law. For more information go to http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm
NYS Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Promulgated
As of October 27, 2010 rules and regulations under the Home Inspection Professional License Law took effect. These regulations include a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. These regulations can be found under the "About Us" button at the top of this page. We hope that the advent of these regulations will help to improve the quality of home inspection services in New York State. However, the consumer must remain vigilant. There is a wide variation in experience and knowledge among home inspectors. For information about state law regarding home inspectors and recommended procedures if a problem arises regarding your home inspection, we suggest that you visit the website of the New York State Association of Home Inspectors and follow its links to the relevant portions of the NYS Dept. of State, Licensing Division. www.nysahi.com
About Home Inspector Certification
Many home inspectors list a credential, or indicate that they are certified. However, ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors, is the only organization that is certified to be an accrediting agency for professional home inspectors. ASHI is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. It achieved its status as a certifying agency under the National Commission of Certifying Agencies. In order to become a certified member of ASHI an inspector must complete at least 250 fee paid inspections, pass a rigorous entrance examination series, including the National Home Inspector Examination, and have reports reviewed by the organization to see that they meet its Standards of Practice. A strict program of continuing education credits are required to maintain certification and membership. Our inspectors are ASHI certified and can carry the ACI designation after their names with pride.