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Mandatory CO Detector Installation for California Homeowners

by Carla Griffin on June 10, 2011

Although the bill (SB 183) was signed into law in 2010, California residents must have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes as of July 1, 2011.

Who is impacted? This time line applies to single-family homes, including individually-owned condominiums, (owner or tenant occupied) that have appliances that burn fossil fuels or homes that have attached garages or fireplaces. Types of fossil fuels include coal, kerosene, oil, wood, fuel gases, and other petroleum or hydrocarbon products, which emit carbon monoxide as a byproduct of combustion.

For all other types of housing, such as apartments and hotels, detectors should be in place as of January 1, 2013.

How much does a CO detector cost? Approximately $20 to $60

How is the law enforced? People requesting home loans will have to show that they have installed CO detectors in their homes.

What is a CO detector? A carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of the carbon monoxide (CO) gas in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is a colorless and odorless compound produced by incomplete combustion. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it is virtually undetectable without using detection technology.

Where do you install CO detectors: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
According to the 2005 edition of the carbon monoxide guidelines, NFPA 720, published by the National Fire Protection Association, sections and, all CO detectors “… shall be centrally located outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms,” and each detector “shall be located on the wall (CO detectors can be placed near the ceiling or near the floor because CO is very close to the same density as air), ceiling or other location as specified in the installation instructions that accompany the unit.”

Per the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission… CO alarms should be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. CPSC recommends that one CO alarm be installed in the hallway outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area of the home. CO alarms may be installed into a plug-in receptacle or high on the wall. Hard wired or plug-in CO alarms should have battery backup. Avoid locations that are near heating vents or that can be covered by furniture or draperies. CPSC does not recommend installing CO alarms in kitchens or above fuel-burning appliances… Visit

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