Legal Update:

California Law on Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirement

Effective July 1st, 2011

1. Requirement

In May 2010, the state of California enacted a law requiring home owners to install carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. According to the California Air Resources Board, 30 to 40 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. The senate bill, also known as the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act, states that those deaths were avoidable. According to the bill, the California law will help prevent further deaths and increase awareness.

2. Timeline

Although the bill was signed into law in 2010, California residents must have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes as of July 1st, 2011. This timeline applies only to single-family homes that have appliances that burn fossil fuels or homes that have attached garages or fireplaces. For all other types of housing, such as apartments and hotels, detectors should be in place as of January 1, 2013. Types of fossil fuels include wood, gas and oil.

3. Detector

According to the senate bill, the detector must sound an audible warning once carbon monoxide is detected. It also must be powered by a battery, or if it is plugged in, have a battery for a backup. The detector also must be certified by national testing labs, such as the Underwriters Laboratories. The packaging on the carbon monoxide detector will state this. If the CO detector is also a smoke detector, it must still meet the above standards and must sound an alarm that is different than the smoke alarm. Carbon monoxide detectors typically can be purchased for about $20 and up.

4. Exemptions

Although the law targets units that are occupied by humans, the law exempts state and local government property, as well as property owned by the University of California Regents. The law requires local jurisdictions to comply; however, they may amend their current ordinances to fall more in line with the law.

5. Fines

California law states that anyone who does not comply with the law may face a $200 fine. However, residents will receive a notice of 30 days to correct any violations before they will be fined.


By Christine Bryant, eHow Contributor