New Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements

What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)? CO is formed from the incomplete burning of any flame-fueled device including ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, furnaces, fireplaces, grills, space heaters, vehicles, and water heaters. CO can be dangerous – when inhaled, it passes from the lungs into the hemoglobin molecules of red blood cells. The result is that the body becomes oxygen-starved which can lead to tissue damage and death.

CO is tasteless, odorless, and invisible gas. Low levels of CO poisoning can cause shortness of breath, mild headaches, nausea, and fainting. CO poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United Sates according to the American Medical Association.

Per California Senate Bill 183, beginning July 1, 2011, all existing single family homes must have carbon monoxide alarms. All other types of residences (apartments, condominiums, etc) will need CO alarms beginning January 1, 2013. The law does not designate local fire departments as enforcing agencies.

The new requirements apply if ANY of the following are present within a home:

  • Attached garage
  • Natural gas or propane furnace and/or natural gas range and/or oven
  • Gas or wood-burning fireplace.

For existing homes, the CO alarms may be battery powered. At a minimum, CO alarms are required:

  • Outside of each sleeping area or bedroom
  • On each level of the home


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900


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