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About Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

    Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you haven’t heard, California homeowners will soon be required to install carbon monoxide detectors. The law goes into effect starting in July 2011. There’s been a lot of misinformation swirling around about the new carbon monoxide law . To help clear up some of the confusion, here is what you need to know about the new carbon monoxide detector law in California.

In this posting, you’ll also find important information about sources of carbon monoxide poisoning as w ell as w hat to do in the event of a carbon monoxide leak.

California Law Requirements

Who It Impacts: All existing single-family homeowners that have fossil-fuel burning appliances, fireplaces and/or attached garage.

What The Law Requires: A carbon monoxide detector must be installed in these homes.

How Much Does A Detector Cost: Carbon monoxide detectors cost anyw here from $10-$50.

How Is The Law Enforced: People requesting homeowner loans will have to show that they have installed carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.

What About Apartments: The law will require all other types of residential units other than single-family homes to have carbon monoxide detectors by Jan. 1, 2013. The owner of the rental unit will be responsible for installing the detectors.

Fines: You will get a warning to install a carbon monoxide detector within 30 days of notice. If you fail to do so, fines will be up to $200.

The law goes into effect for all single-family homeowners on July 1, 2011. It is recommended that you purchase your carbon monoxide detector ahead of time, as it’s possible there could be shortages.

Unlike fires, carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is otherwise undetectable.

That is why it is important to install a carbon monoxide detector.

Common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

Gas heating systems

Natural gas heating systems

LP gas heating

Coal/wood heating systems

Kerosene/oil heating

Diesel fuel

By far, LP gas heating and natural gas heating cause the most carbon monoxide poisonings of the six categories.

Where To Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

CO (Carbon Monoxide) is a gas that is heavier than air. In any room it will sink to the floor and build upwards. CO detectors should therefore be installed in places close to the floor. Most detectors are plugged into wall outlets that are usually located in an ideal location.

Signs You May Have Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Because you cannot smell carbon monoxide, it’s difficult to detect.

If you and other family members in your home are showing the follow ing symptoms, you may have carbon monoxide poisoning.

Shortness of breath

Nausea Headaches Dizziness Vomiting

Loss of consciousness

If you or other members of your home are experiencing these symptoms, immediately leave your home and get fresh air. Call 911 for medical help after getting out of your home.

What To Do If Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off

If you’re carbon monoxide detectors start beeping, you’ll want to take the following steps:

Turn off carbon monoxide detector and get everyone outside.

Check to see if anyone is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. If so, call 911. Open w indow s in home to get fresh air circulating.

Turn off all appliances and heating systems.

Call an appliance or heating professional to check for a carbon monoxide leak.

Following these steps will help to protect your family in the event of a carbon monoxide leak.

    Smoke Detectors

California law requires smoke detectors to be installed in all "dwelling units intended for human habitation." The specific requirements may vary depending on the type of property, the number of units and the number of stories of the property.

"Where there is smoke there is flame" as the saying goes, and it is true. Unlike CO, smoke is actually small particles that are transported upward on a column of hot air. Smoke detectors detect the smoke particles, and sound the alarm.

When CO builds up, it spreads throughout a structure like water spilled on a table. Since CO is heavier than air, it spreads across the floor. For this reason structures need only a few CO detectors.

Smoke rises to the ceiling on the other hand and fills a room until it finds a doorway to spill under to fill other spaces.

For proper safety, multiple fire detector should be installed on every level of a building and its stairways as well as hallways outside sleeping areas. Smoke detectors that work off of household current must have backup batteries in case of a power outage. 

All smoke detectors should be tested and their batteries changed every six months. The ideal way to remember is to do it the same time you change your clocks for daylight savings time.

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