In California, beginning July 1, 2011, at least one CO alarm is required in all existing single-family dwellings with a fuel-burning heater, fuel-burning appliance, fireplaces or an attached garage. All other single-family dwellings will be required to have at least one CO alarm installed by July 1, 2013. The new law is referred to as the California Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010.

CLIENT ADVISORY: I recommend that carbon monoxide alarms be installed as needed to ensure conformance with current safety requirements. Effective July 1, 2011, there is a phased requirement for carbon monoxide alarms in ALL dwellings. These are relatively inexpensive but important safety devices. In general, a CO alarm should be installed adjacent to sleeping areas and at least one per level. Each alarm should provide coverage for approximately 400-1,000 square feet. Please consult with the Authority Having Jurisdiction and the manufacturer’s installation instructions for specific recommendations. The units should be replaced periodically as indicated by the manufacturers to ensure proper function. This is generally every 5 to 7 years. Interested parties desiring further information or service should consult with a qualified tradesperson.

(The preceding information was condensed from a series of articles that appeared in the CREIA Inspector Enews, for which Skip Walker was a primary contributor.)


1)—CREIA (California Real Estate Inspection Association):

· CBC 2010 - R315 Carbon Monoxide Alarms

· California Carbon Monoxide Law Takes Effect

· Carbon Monoxide - Leading Cause of Poisoning Deaths

2)—Consumer Product Safety Commission:

3)—CSPC Safety Tips: