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New California Law Requires Carbon Monoxide Detectors

As of July 1st 2011, California has signed a law into effect that requires all single-family rental units to have carbon monoxide detectors installed if there are any gas burning appliances, such as a stove or water heater, or have a fireplace or an attached garage. If the residential unit does not fit under one of these scenarios, they still have to install carbon monoxide detectors but have until January 1, 2013 in which to do so.

What Exactly is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is produced when certain fuels are not completely burned off when utilized. Symptoms can include dizziness, nausea, headaches, confusion, and even death. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is known as the silent killer because there is nothing to see or smell when there is a leak, making the installation of carbon monoxide detectors a necessary step in helping to prevent any more cases of carbon monoxide poisoning.

California Senate Bill 183

Also known as the ‘Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act’, the California Senate Bill 183 requires that carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all rental units that are either transferred or sold after July 1, 2011.


California Senate Bill 183 was created due to the 30 – 40 deaths as well as the hundreds of emergency room visits/hospitalizations that occur each year due to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. Since these deaths could have been avoided if there was a detector installed, the state of California has taken the initiative to make sure that these preventable deaths come to a stop.

What if I Don’t Meet the Deadline?

If you do not install state approved carbon monoxide detectors before the July 1st deadline, you are subject to receive a $200 fine for each infraction. So if you happen to be late with your installation, let the authorities know and you’ll first receive a 30-day notice in order to give you a little extra time to comply with the new law.

Where Can I Buy Carbon Monoxide Detectors?

In order to make sure that all the carbon monoxide detectors satisfy the new law requirements and are accordingly deemed to be safe and reliable, they must be approved by the State Fire Marshal.


When it comes time to install the detectors, there are a few things you should know.

  • Make sure the detector is placed within 10 – 15 feet of all bedrooms
  • Make sure the detector is placed on all levels of a dwelling, including the basement
  • Do not install the detector in humid areas, such as the bathroom and/or kitchen
  • Do not install the detector in utility rooms, such as your laundry room

Bottom Line

Installing carbon monoxide detectors is now required by the law, so be sure to check out the Fire Marshal’s list in order to research the best detectors for your particulr dwelling unit. Also, don’t forget to change the batteries every 6 months! One way to remember this is to change the detector batteries when you change your clock to reflect daylight savings time.

Posted by: Jenna on March 23, 2015