California's Carbon Monoxide Safety Law

Protecting California Families from the "Silent Killer"

In May 2010, an important public safety measure was signed into law requiring all California homes to be equipped with carbon monoxide alarms. Note: CO alarms are required IN ADDITION to smoke alarms and are not intended to replace them. Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the "Silent Killer" because it is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can catch its victims completely unaware. CO is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States and accounts for up to 700 emergency room visits in California each year.  CO poisoning can cause severe and chronic brain, lung and heart injuries and can lead to death.  

The only safe way to know if there is CO in your home is to arm your family with a working CO alarm.

Following is a summary of California's CO safety law.

Effective Dates for CO Alarm Installation

Required beginning January  1, 2011

Residential (CA Residential Code, 2010)
All newly constructed detached one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses not more than three stories in height that contain fuel burning appliances or an attached garage. Also, when such an existing dwelling requires a permit for alterations, repairs or additions exceeding $1,000.

Commercial (CA Building Code, 2010)
Group homes, assisted living facilities housing more than 16 persons in a supervised environment who are capable of responding to an emergency. Also includes hotels, boarding houses, apartments, dorms, adult and child day care facilities  (all I-1, R-1, R-2 and R-3 dwellings and facilities).

Single-Family Dwellings – Required beginning July 1, 2011
Multi-Family Dwellings – Required beginning January  1, 2013

Any single-family dwelling, duplex, lodging house, private dormitory, hotel, motel, condo, time-share or multiple unit dwelling that contains a fossil-fuel burning heater, appliance, fireplace or attached garage.

Approved Alarms

New Construction: Must be hardwired with battery backup and interconnected.

Existing Homes: May be battery operated, plug-in with battery backup, or hardwired with battery backup.

Installation :
CO alarms must be installed outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity and on every level.

NOTICE - PLEASE READ: This information is a summary interpretation of California SB 183, Chapter# 19, 2010; 2010 Edition of the California Residential Code, Section 315; 2010 Edition of the California Building Code, Section 420 and was prepared as general reference material ONLY. This summary is NOT authoritative. For your specific compliance requirements please refer to the actual law or regulation or consult legal counsel