CARON MONOXIDE DETECTORS REQUIRED IN ALL RESIDENTIAL HOMES
AS OF JULY 1, 2011

Beginning July 1, 2011, all existing homes in California must be equipped with carbon monoxide alarms. CA Law requires that an approved carbon monoxide alarm be installed in dwelling units and in sleeping units within which fuel-burning appliances are installed, and in dwelling units that have attached garages. Carbon monoxide alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on or near the ceiling in the immediate vicinity of fuel burning appliances and other sources of carbon monoxide such as attached garages.
For minimum security, a CO Alarm should be centrally located outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. The Alarm should be located at least 6 inches (152mm) from all exterior walls and at least 3 feet (0.9 meters) from supply or return vents.
A carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) gas in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is a colorless and odorless compound produced by incomplete combustion.

Proper placement of a carbon monoxide (CO) detector is important. If you are installing only one carbon monoxide detector, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends it be located near the sleeping area, where it can wake you if you are asleep. Additional detectors on every level and in every bedroom of a home provides extra protection against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Homeowners should remember not to install carbon monoxide detectors directly above or beside fuel-burning appliances, as appliances may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide upon start-up. A detector should not be placed within fifteen feet of heating or cooking appliances or in or near very humid areas such as bathrooms.

When considering where to place a carbon monoxide detector, keep in mind that although carbon monoxide is roughly the same weight as air (carbon monoxide's specific gravity is 0.9657, as stated by the EPA; the National Resource Council lists the specific gravity of air as one), it may be contained in warm air coming from combustion appliances such as home heating equipment. If this is the case, carbon monoxide will rise with the warmer air.

Installation locations vary by manufacturer. Manufacturers' recommendations differ to a certain degree based on research conducted with each one's specific detector. Therefore, make sure to read the provided installation manual for each detector before installing.
 

The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommend a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. A detector should be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door and there should be one near or over any attached garage. Each detector should be replaced every five to six years.

CO detectors do not serve as smoke detectors and vice versa. However, dual smoke/CO detectors are also sold. Smoke detectors detect the smoke generated by flaming or smoldering fires, whereas CO detectors can alarm people about faulty fuel burning devices to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is produced from incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. In the home CO can be formed, for example, by open flames, space heaters, water heaters, blocked chimneys or running a car inside a garage.



Since CO is colorless, tasteless and odorless (unlike smoke from a fire), detection and prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning in a home environment is impossible without such a warning device. In North America, some state, provincial and municipal governments require installation of CO detectors in new units - among them, the U.S. states of Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Vermont, the Canadian province of Ontario, and New York City.

According to the 2005 edition of the carbon monoxide guidelines, NFPA 720, published by the National Fire Protection Association, sections 5.1.1.1 and 5.1.1.2, all CO detectors 'shall be centrally located outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms,' and each detector 'shall be located on the wall, ceiling or other location as specified in the installation instructions that accompany the unit.'