Q&A on Carbon Monoxide Detectors

I’ve been getting quite a few questions about carbon monoxide detectors lately since they recently became required in California as of July 1, 2011, so I wanted to help go over a few of the basics to understand. Let me know if you have any insight or other questions.

Q: Are carbon monoxide detectors required for FHA loans in California?
A: Yes. Dial 800-CALL-FHA if you need to hear this straight from HUD.

Q: Are carbon monoxide detectors required for conventional loans?
A: I have had zero of my lender clients require CO detectors for conventional loans. Despite carbon monoxide detectors being state law, they seem to be treated much like smoke detectors or strapped water heaters. While smoke detectors and water heater straps are required by many local counties, lack of smoke detectors or a strapped water heater isn’t something that holds up a loan (usually). This could change over time, but so far all of my conventional lender clients have stated they will not require carbon monoxide detectors.

Watch a video I put together below (or here) on FHA and CO detectors:

Q: Where should carbon monoxide detectors be installed?
A: They should be installed according to the instructions on the package. Some detectors are plug-ins and others need to hang a few inches below the ceiling. It all depends on what the guidelines say for the specific device. Generally speaking, there should be at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of the house and outside of each sleeping area. So if there is a cluster of bedrooms spread apart on each side of an upper level, the house may need two CO detectors on that level. Carbon monoxide detectors should also be installed in basements within which fuel-fired appliances are installed

Q: Are there houses that do not need a carbon monoxide detector?
A: Yes. CO detectors are only required for houses that have either an attached garage, fireplace or gas heater or appliance. Technically, if a house ran on electric only, had no fireplace and a detached garage, it does not need a carbon monoxide detector.

If you have any questions, or real estate appraisal or property tax appeal needs in the Greater Sacramento Region, contact Lundquist Appraisal by phone 916-595-3735, email, Facebook, Twitter or subscribe to posts by email.


    • says

      Thanks so much Heather. There are still many questions about carbon monoxide detectors. I’m finding that home owners and flippers are starting to catch on to install them. On my FHA inspections it seems about 50% of houses have them now (while the other 50% have to install them before COE). Thanks again.


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