Laws can sometimes seem confusing, right? In July 2011 it became mandatory in California for single family dwellings to have carbon monoxide detectors, so home owners and the real estate community have scrambled to understand the requirements. Basically, you should have a CO detector if your home has any of the following: a) Attached garage; b) Fireplace; or c) Any gas appliance or a gas heater. Most houses have one of the three, so this means carbon monoxide detectors are required for most homes.
What’s wrong with this photo? I’ve seen this issue quite a bit lately and twice in the past week. What problem exists when having only one carbon monoxide detector in a house INSIDE the bedroom? There are two issues:
- A bedroom installation appears to violate Sacramento County Code since CO detectors are required “outside” of a sleeping area (see below). There is no rule against them being inside bedrooms, but if they are ONLY in bedrooms, that’s a problem. Most online sources say carbon monoxide detectors should be installed outside the sleeping areas, but if you want to go the extra mile, install them inside bedrooms also.
- I’m not a carbon monoxide specialist, but doesn’t it seem best to install the detector in a place to alert you BEFORE it gets to your bedroom?
What does County code say? Sacramento County Code Section B-8 R315.1 and R315.2 says the following regarding where carbon monoxide detectors should be installed:
- Outside of each separate dwelling unit sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedroom(s).
- On every level of a dwelling unit including basements.
How many should you install? If you have a two-story house or several sleeping areas in your home, it may be necessary to install several CO detectors (not just one). Check out a previous post I wrote to view diagrams on where to install carbon monoxide detectors. Since CO detectors are required for FHA loans (in California at least where it is the law), they should be installed properly to avoid required repairs during the appraisal process.
Office of the State Fire Marshal in California (PDF article)
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (article)
Health and Safety Code Section 13260-13263 (the letter of the law)
I hope this helps. Be safe out there.
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