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CO Detector Deadline Approaching

May 27, 2011 | | Articles | No Comments


SB 183, which was signed by former Governor Schwarzenegger last year, requires carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all residential rental houses by July of 2011 and all other residential units by January 1, 2013.  This applies to all dwellings that have a fireplace, an attached garage, or any fossil-fuel burning appliance.

Reports on accidental deaths in California from CO poisoning range from 30-40 per year so there is a danger associated with carbon monoxide and this measure will probably help.  Supporters of this measure, as you might guess, included the California Firefighters Association, Home Depot, and the California Alarm Association.  Fortunately, these devices are not too expensive, about $20-$40 each, and are very easy to install.

You should follow the directions for placement of the detectors but it is recommended that at least one be placed near the bedrooms.  It is also recommended that they not be placed near fuel-burning appliances, heaters, in kitchens or garages.
In a smaller home with a wall heaters in the hallway, you might have to put one in each room to avoid being too close to the heater.  False alarm can be caused by heaters and other appliances at start-up.  There is some confusion about locating the CO detector low on the wall instead of higher or on the ceiling.  CO has a specific gravity of .9657 compared to air which is 1 so CO mixes easily with air and will rise with warm air.  They should be out of the reach of children.

Finally, there are a number of different types of detectors available including battery-only, plug-in with battery backup, digital, hard-wired, and system-connected units which can be monitored by a central monitoring station.  It is important to note that a CO detector is not a substitute for a smoke detector, although you can get combination smoke and CO detector units.  CO detectors typically last about seven years and then must be replaced so it is important to track the date the unit was manufactured (not installed) and replace it as scheduled.

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