City News

Is Your Home Protected by a Carbon Monoxide Detector? Now it's the Law

Starting July 1, 2011, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act, which was signed into law in 2010, requires all single-family homes with an attached garage or fossil fuel source to install carbon monoxide detectors within the home.

Commonly referred to as the “silent killer” carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. At low levels of exposure you and your family can experience shortness of breath, mild nausea, and headaches. At moderate levels, symptoms become more severe including confusion and unconsciousness.

The California Air Resources Board has determined that 30-40 avoidable deaths, on average, occur in California each year due to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. Additionally, this is the cause of 175-700 “avoidable” emergency room visits and hospitalizations in California. The best way for homeowners to stay protected from CO is to have a carbon monoxide detector installed on every floor and outside each sleeping area of your home.

These devices must be installed, consistent with new construction regulations or according to the approved manufacturer installation instructions, in all existing single-family dwellings which includes duplex and townhouse. All other dwelling units (i.e. apartments, condominium) must have proper carbon monoxide detectors no later than January 1, 2013. Additionally, these detectors are required to be installed when selling any dwelling unit made for human occupancy.

For more information, including a listing of approved detectors by the California Office of the State Fire Marshal go to and select the Smoke & CO Detector icon.