New Law Requires Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Homes

As of July 1, 2011, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act (Senate Bill SB-183) requires all single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel source to install carbon monoxide alarms within the home by July 1, 2011. Owners of multi-family leased or rental dwellings, such as apartment buildings, have until January 1, 2013 to comply with the law.

This is serious, even here in warm SoCal. Weird Al Yankovic’s parent’s died in their home in Fallbrook, California from CO2 poisoning. “ One thing I would like to ask everybody to do, though… please, go out and get carbon monoxide detectors for yourself and your loved ones. If my parents had had one in their home, there’s a very good chance that they would still be with us today.”

So here’s info, courtesy of the California State Fire Marshal (CSFM)

What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced from heaters, fireplaces, furnaces, and many types of appliances and cooking devices. It can also be produced by vehicles that are idling.

What is the effective date for installing a CO device?
For a single-family dwelling, the effective date is July 1, 2011. For all other dwelling units, the effective date is January 1, 2013.

What is the definition of a dwelling unit?
A dwelling unit is defined as a single family dwelling, duplex, lodging house, dormitory, hotel, motel, condominium, time-share project, or dwelling unit in a multiple-unit dwelling building.

Where should CO devices be installed in homes?
They should be installed outside each sleeping area of the home including the basement. Follow the manufacturer’s
installation instructions.

Are CO devices that are required by SB-183 to be installed in each room?
No. They are required by SB-183 to be installed outside of each sleeping area. For maximum protection against CO gas,
it is recommended that a CO device be installed in each sleeping room.

Are CO devices required to be approved by the State Fire Marshal?
Yes. SB-183 prohibits the marketing, distribution, or sale of devices unless it is approved and listed by the CSFM.

If someone has a CO device that is not listed by the CSFM prior to the law, can they maintain it or does it have to be replaced?
Existing CO devices installed prior to July 1, 2011 may continue to be utilized.

Questions regarding carbon monoxide devices may be addressed to Deputy Mike Tanaka at (916)445-8533 or  For full CSFM FAQ Memo including a link for all CSFM approved devices visit

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