As of July 1, 2011 all single-family homes with a fireplace, attached garage or fossil burning heater must install carbon monoxide alarms. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill if left undetected. It is produced by furnaces, fireplaces, heaters, some cooking devices, idling cars and some appliances. When used normally, appliances that burn fuel produce small amounts of carbon monoxide that are not poisonous. However, appliances that are not working properly can produce too much carbon monoxide and silently kill all the occupants within a home.
Any single family homes that are found to not have an alarm will be served a 30-day notice. If the owner chooses not to comply a maximum fee of $200 fee will be given with each offense.
Owners of multi-family leased or rental units will have until January 1, 2013 to comply with this requirement.
Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed outside each sleeping area of the house including the basement. It doesn't really matter where the alarm is installed in terms of height, carbon monoxide mixes with air and can be detected at any height within a home.
For more information regarding this new law, go to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Here's another great pamphlet on carbon monoxide by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
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