Complying with Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Laws in Illinois

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have helped save many lives. Illinois has codifed the necessity for these devices in the Smoke Detector Act and the Carbon Monoxide Detector Act. Following these rules can not only protect you and your family, but will also assist you in selling or leasing your home.

Smoke Detector Act — Per state law, every single-family home must have a smoke detector installed on each floor, including the basement. For other dwelling units, there must be at least one working smoke detector within 15 feet of every bedroom or other room used for sleeping purposes. All smoke detectors must be installed on the ceiling, at least 6 inches from any wall. Smoke detectors may also be installed on the wall, so long as they are between 4-6 inches away from the ceiling. Additionally, if a building contains more than one residential unit, or if the building is a mixed-use building and there is at least one residential unit, then a smoke detector must be installed on the highest ceiling of all stairwells inside the building.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act — Per state law, most residential units must have at least one working carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of every bedroom or other room used for sleeping purposes.

Keep in mind that when you go to sell your home, your buyer will probably hire a professional inspector to inspect the home. Property inspectors are trained to look for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, test them, and make sure they are properly installed in appropriate locations. Having these devices installed and in working order will help your inspection go smoothly.

Additionally, if you are leasing your unit, by state law you are required to have all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and in working order. Once your tenant has moved in, maintenance of the smoke detector becomes his resposibility, including testing and changing batteries. If there is anything seriously wrong with either the smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, then the tenant should notify the landlord in writing and the landlord should have the problem corrected.