My Home Inspector Blog: The New Carbon Monoxide Detector Law In California

The New Carbon Monoxide Detector Law In California

The New Carbon Monoxide Detector Law In California- California residents, have you installed a carbon monoxide detector in your home? Per California Senate Bill 183, California residents must have a carbon monoxide detector installed in their home as of July 1, 2011. Although I have been recommending installation of CO alarms in my home inspection reports for some time now, home inspectors will now be required to report on the presence or absence of these detectors. This new law applies to homes having at least one of the following:

  • A fossil-fuel burning appliance or heater (wood, gas, oil, coal)
  • An attached garage
  • A fireplace

 

 

 

Required locations: Carbon monoxide detectors are required to be installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedroom(s), and on every level of the home (including basements).

 

 

 

 

Detectors: Carbon monoxide detectors must be hard-wired with battery backup and must be inter-connected if there is more than one in the home. Solely-battery operated detectors may be used IF alterations done to the home do not result in the removal of wall or ceiling finishes OR there is no access for wiring by means of an attic, basement, or crawlspace.

 

The carbon monoxide detector must have been tested and certified pursuant to the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) as set forth in ANSI/UL 2034 or ANSI/ UL 2075, and be approved and listed by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. If a combination CO/smoke alarm is used, it must still meet the above standards and the CO detector must sound an alarm that is different than the smoke detector. Carbon monoxide detectors typically can be purchased for $30 and up.

 

 

 

Fines: California law states that anyone who does not comply with the new law may face up to a $200 fine. However, residents will receive a 30-day notice to correct any violations before the fine will be imposed.

 

 

 

The New Carbon Monoxide Detector Law In California- Steve Stenros, owner of First Choice Inspections, is a CREIA MCI home inspector and can be reached for appointment at 888-335-3040. Steve provides professional home inspections in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties. Clients receive a FREE lifetime appliance RecallChek with every standard home inspection.

 


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Comment balloon 17 commentsSteve Stenros • June 21 2011 09:33PM

Comments

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the info. I just downloaded a 4-page fine print from the ca.gov site. However after reading through all of it I couldn't find anywhere that it indicated the use of one in the vicinity of each sleeping area.

In your example you have a split plan that shows 2 bedrooms on one side and 1 on the other, needing 2 detectors. If it were a 2-story place without a downstairs bedroom would the two upstairs suffice?

Also, you have that specific code somewhere?

Posted by Lynda Eisenmann, Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co (Preferred Home Brokers) over 7 years ago

Hi Steve,

Great info as always. My personal preference (contrary to the CBC) is to install at least one CO alarm in a bedroom. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/jun/19/carbon-monoxide-poisoning-prevention-act-starts-al/

Posted by Joe Nernberg (AmeriSpec Inspection Services) over 7 years ago

Interesting. We don't have such a law here in Quebec. It is a good recommendation for any home that has an attached garage, a fireplace or fuel burning appliances. The overhead units are not necessary though as CO gas does not automatically rise like heat and smoke. The units that plug into wall outlets are very practical as there is no concern about batteries getting run down.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 7 years ago

Hi Steve, this is an excellent law.  Thank you for providing precise information on it's requirements.  A great post to pass on to clients.

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) over 7 years ago

Steve - I will pay ore attention about carbon monoxide detectors in homes. Thank you for the detailed quality blog on carbon monoxide detector law in California.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) over 7 years ago

Thanks Steve for the needed information, esp. on the correct placement.  I have an older manuf. house, and the propane water heater is located on the outside, kinda like a closet (it is well vented at the door and the ceiling of the closet). This is the only gas appliance (no fireplace) for the house.  Do I need a detector inside the home?

Posted by TERI LINDSAY, STAGELIGHT HOME STAGING CO. over 7 years ago

Lynda: With the scenario you gave, you would need at least one CO detector on each level (one adjacent to each sleeping area, and one on each level). The requirements for new construction must be met by July 1st. CA Residential Code- Section R315 defines where they must be placed. Here it is for your review...

 

 

 

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 7 years ago

Joe: It's good to see you here on ActiveRain!

Robert: I'm already starting to see a lot of the plug-in units.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 7 years ago

Dan: This law will save lives, no doubt. Feel free to pass it on!

John: Your AVI will now include a check box for CO alarms.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 7 years ago

Teri: In a manufactured home, the water heater usually sits within the footprint of the home (unless yours is in a storage cabinet completly outside of the exterior wall of the home). I would refer to the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) as to whether or not you would need a CO alarm.

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 7 years ago

Hey Steve, thanks so very much for the detailed info, just had to come back to check it out.

Posted by Lynda Eisenmann, Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co (Preferred Home Brokers) over 7 years ago

Lynda: Next time you can just check the box at the bottom of the comments section that says "Notify me of new comments" and you'll receive notification!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 7 years ago

Hello Steve, when I read the text of the law, I don't see where it says, as you state, "Carbon monoxide detectors must be hard-wired with battery backup and must be inter-connected if there is more than one in the home."  Instead, the relevant text of the law says "13262.  For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply: (a) “Carbon monoxide device” means a device that meets all of the following requirements: (1) A device designed to detect carbon monoxide and produce a distinct, audible alarm. (2) A device that is battery powered, a plug-in device with battery backup, or a device installed as recommended by Standard 720 of the National Fire Protection Association that is either wired into the alternating current power line of the dwelling unit with a secondary battery backup or connected to a system via a panel."  Section (2) seems to indicate that any one of these devices is acceptable, as opposed to your "must" statement concerning the third option.  Do you get your interpretation from another statement elsewhere in this statute, or in another statute entirely?  Thanks!

Posted by Jeremy Dendle over 7 years ago

Jeremy, here is section 315 of the CA Residential Code regarding the power supply for carbon monoxide alarms (Note "Exception #2"):

Here is the section regarding interconnection (Note: "Exception #1")...

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 7 years ago

I realy appreciate your blog and since you are in my area I will definitely keep your information for my clients. Do you happen to have any written information showing that FHA requires the carbon monoxide detectors to be installed? I have an appraiser who has called these out in San Diego, as well as the smoke detectors, and the agent insists the seller does not have to install either of them. Thanks for your help.

Posted by Roxanna over 7 years ago

Thank you, Roxanna! Since State law mandates their placement, I don't see how this agent can say they are not necessary! If the house is in California, they must be installed. It doesn't matter if it is an FHA loan or not!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) over 7 years ago

It is such an easy fix and there is no reason not to have one( of few if necessary). 

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) about 1 year ago

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