Carbon Monoxide Detectors Required by Law in Homes
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As of July 1, 2011, homeowners are required to install carbon monoxide detectors in all single-family California homes with an attached garage, fireplace or a fossil fuel-burning heater or appliance. Nationwide, carbon monoxide poisoning claims about 480 lives every year and sends another 20,000 people to the hospital. Senate Bill 183, which is the bases for this regulation was approved by Governor in May 2010.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. If the appliances that burn the fuel are properly used and maintained, the amount of CO produced is generally not hazardous. However, improper use of appliances can result in deadly levels of CO. Hundreds of people die every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances. Even more die from the CO produced by idling cars. Heaters, fireplaces, furnaces and many types of appliances and cooking devices produce the colorless, odorless gas.
Even though the detectors will alert residents to the presence of CO, people need to know the symptoms of CO poisoning so they can act quickly and early. At moderate levels of CO, the symptoms include severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, fainting and mental confusion. Many of these same symptoms are milder at lower levels of CO.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer; You can’t see it or smell it, but at high levels, it can kill a person in just minutes.
A recent study found that almost 90 percent of California homes don’t have carbon monoxide detectors. Having a detector is a very small investment that can protect the lives of your family.
While individual homeowners must have installed the CO detectors by July 1, 2011, owners of multi-family leased or rental dwellings were given until January 1, 2013 to comply with the law. For more information on the law and CO detectors, residents can contact their local building and safety department, or go to the Consumer Product Safety Commission website at https://www.cpsc.gov/.
For information on needed permit as well as where in your home these CO detectors should be installed, please visit your local Building and Safety office or go to www.iccvrc.org
Prevent CO poisoning:
- Don’t idle the car in the garage, even if the outside door is open.
- Don’t use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
- Never use a charcoal grill indoors.
- Don’t ignore symptoms, especially if more than one person is feeling them.
- Have your fuel-burning appliances regularly serviced by a professional.