Saturday, February 19, 2011

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Required in California Houses & Dwelling Units

Carbon monoxide detector 

Carbon monoxide is a gas produced whenever any fuel, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal, is burned.  A person can't see or smell carbon monoxide.

The California Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010 (Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 13260 et seq) is now law requiring carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in every "dwelling unit intended for human occupancy."   

A carbon monoxide detector is a device similar to a smoke detector that signals detection of carbon monoxide in the air. 

This carbon monoxide detection device must be:

  • Designed to detect carbon monoxide and produce a distinct audible alarm.  It can be battery powered, a plug-in device with battery backup, or a device either wired into the alternating current power line of the dwelling unit with a secondary battery backup or connected to a system via a panel. 
  • If this device is combined with a smoke detector, it must emit an alarm or voice warning in a manner that clearly differentiates between a carbon monoxide alarm warning and a smoke detector warning.

Each owner of a "dwelling unit intended for human occupancy" must:

  • Install an approved carbon monoxide device in each existing dwelling unit having a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage.  The applicable time periods are:  (1) For all existing single-family dwelling units on or before July 1, 2011.  (2) For all other existing dwelling units on or before Jan. 1, 2013.  (Cal. Health & Safety Code § 17926(a).)

A carbon monoxide 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.
  • Installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedroom(s) in dwelling units and on every level including basements within which fuel-fired appliances are installed and in dwelling units that have attached garages.

Sellers carbon monoxide disclosure obligations:

  • Would be satisfied when providing a buyer with the Transfer Disclosure Statement or the MHTDS.  If the seller is exempt from giving a TDS, the law doesn't require any specific disclosures regarding carbon monoxide detector devices.  (California Civil Code §§ 1102.6, 1102.6d.) 
  • Homeowners' Guide to Environmental Hazards also will include information regarding carbon monoxide.

Landlords have special obligations regarding carbon monoxide detectors: 

  • All landlords of dwelling units must install carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Landlords in CA have authority to enter the dwelling unit for purpose of installing, repairing, testing, and maintaining carbon monoxide devices "pursuant to the authority and requirements of Section 1954 of the Civil Code [entry by landlord]."
  • The detection device must be operable at the time that a tenant takes possession. 
  • The tenant has responsibility of notifying the owner or owner's agent if the tenant becomes aware of an inoperable or deficient carbon monoxide device.  However, the landlord is not in violation of this law for a deficient or inoperable carbon monoxide device if he/she has not received notice of the problem from the tenant. (CA Health & Safety Code § 17926.1.)


Source: California Association of Realtors 

Harrison K. Long - solutions for real estate and business - REALTOR® and broker associate, GRI - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - 949-854-7747 (phone) - (email) - CA DRE 01410855 - SFR short sale and foreclosure resource certified by the National Association of REALTORs®.

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