Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are Now Required in All Residential Occupancies Statewide

Carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. Up to 40 California residents die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

California Senate Bill 183, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010, was signed into law this July 1, 2011, and requires Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors to be installed in all single-family homes that have an attached garage, fireplace, or a fossil-burning heater. All other multifamily residential units must be equipped with a detector on or before January 1, 2013.

The detectors of the gas can be bought at hardware stores for anywhere from $20 to $90. It is recommended that they be installed outside each bedroom on every level of the home, including the basement. The manufacturer's installation instruction should also be followed. And, like smoke detectors, they're easy to install.

The bill requires that devices sold are certified by the Office of the State Fire Marshal (CSFM). View a list of approved carbon monoxide detectors (PDF).

About Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by incomplete combustion of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer because you can't see it, smell it, or taste it. It can sneak up on you without you even knowing it. For this reason, it is very dangerous. Every year, over 200 people in the United States die from CO produced by fuel-burning appliances in their home such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters, and clothes dryers. Other sources include burning charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent, and cars left running in an attached garage.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Make sure appliances are installed according to manufacturer's instructions and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by professionals. Have the heating system (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually. The inspector should also check chimneys and flues for blockages, corrosion, partial and complete disconnections, and loose connections.
  • Install a CO detector / alarm that meets the requirements of the current UL standard 2034 or the requirements of the IAS 6-96 standard. A carbon monoxide detector / alarm can provide added protection but is no substitute for proper use and upkeep of appliances that can produce CO.
  • Install a CO detector / alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home. Make sure the detector cannot be covered up by furniture or draperies.
  • Never burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
  • Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
  • Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.
  • Never service fuel-burning appliances without proper knowledge, skills, and tools. Always refer to the owner's manual when performing minor adjustments or servicing fuel-burning appliances.
  • Never use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers for heating your home.
  • Never operate non-vented fuel-burning appliances in any room with closed doors or windows or in any room where people are sleeping.
  • Do not use gasoline-powered tools and engines indoors. If use is unavoidable, ensure that adequate ventilation is available and whenever possible, place engine unit to exhaust outdoors.