Where do you install carbon monoxide detectors in your home?

Are you confused about where to install carbon monoxide detectors? I hope I can paint a helpful picture for you today so you have a better idea what to do.

When are CO detectors required? First off, as of July 1, 2011, it became state law in California for carbon monoxide detectors to be installed. 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.

Where should carbon monoxide detectors be placed? They should be installed specifically outside of each sleeping area in a house (there could be multiple areas), on each level of the house and in the basement also. You may only need one carbon monoxide detector in your house, but you could need several detectors depending on the layout of your home. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the package first and foremost to ensure you have properly installed your detector. Moreover, if you’re unsure whether you need an additional detector or it is somewhat questionable, keep in mind detectors are fairly inexpensive. It’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

Here are some examples for you of various scenarios for determining how many carbon monoxide detectors are needed.

Example 1: There is one small hallway connecting all bedrooms in this single story house, so there is only one carbon monoxide detector required as indicated by the blue dot.

Example for carbon monoxide detector installation - by Sacramento Appraisal BlogExample 2: There are two different sleeping areas in this single story house, so there is a need for two carbon monoxide detectors as indicated by the blue dots. See the video below (or here) of a walk-through of this house.

Example for carbon monoxide detector installation - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Example 3: This is a two-story home with a need for three carbon monoxide detectors since there are two floors as well as two separate sleeping areas upstairs.

Example for carbon monoxide detector installation - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Here is a video tour of Example 2 above to help you visualize installation:

By the way, Sacramento County Code Section B-8 R315.1 and R315.2 says the following regarding where carbon monoxide detectors should be installed (exactly what I said above):

  1. Outside of each separate dwelling unit sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedroom(s).
  2. On every level of a dwelling unit including basements.

Lastly, in case you did not know, carbon monoxide detectors are required by FHA since it is California state law. Since missing CO detectors are one of the most common FHA repair issues, it’s a good idea to install them before the appraiser inspects your home if you are doing an FHA loan.

I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.

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Comments

  1. John Carlson says

    I was told that even an all electric home with no garage or fireplace has a electric stove and W/H which can remit some CO gas. Is the CO detector required in this case?

    • says

      Thanks John. If the home is an electric home, it probably wouldn’t have a gas water heater. If the water heater is gas though, then it sounds like a CO detector would be needed. If not, then there shouldn’t be a need for one when the home is all electric, no garage (or detached garage), no gas appliances and no fireplace.

  2. Dave says

    I just bought 2 CO detectors (KIdde ). I live in Florida and my house is all electric with an attached garage. I placed the detector’s in the garage just to see if they would get a reading. To my surprise they have displayed in 30-40′s on several days. The tonight they both chirped because they were reading 145/146. The car had not been moved all day and was never started. The garage does have 2 gas cans that have gas in it but otherwise there is nothing that has combustible fuel in it.

    It’s kind of hard to believe that both units are bad or are Kidde units known for false positives?

    Thanks.

  3. says

    Dave, I am not really qualified to say whether your CO detector is a good one or not. I do know there is a quality spectrum, and I’ve heard the cheap ones from chain stores are not as good as the very expensive ones (I know, that sounds obvious). From personal experience, my son had a remote controlled toy in his room that would make our CO detector in the hallway sound an alarm when the toy was turned on. I don’t understand how that was happening, but it seemed the toy’s frequency was somehow interfering with the detector. I just know we had to get rid of that detector because it was not working as it should because it was creating a false positive (and the alarm was very loud). I bring this up to say that some CO detectors do create false positives. I do not recall the brand we had. It might be worth poking around online to see if others have had a similar experience with the brand you mentioned. I hope you figure it out, and obviously I hope there is no legitimate issue at your home.

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