It's Time to Install New Carbon Monoxide Alarms

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Source: City of Santa Barbara

 In July 2011, California Senate Bill 183 went into effect.  Known as the “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act,” the law requires California residents to install Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms in their homes.  If you installed a CO alarm following the law going into effect in 2011, it may be time to install new CO alarms.  Once installed, it’s important to remember that CO alarms don’t last forever.  Because the sensors in CO alarms have a limited lifespan, alarms purchased across the state of California in 2011 may start sounding an end-of-life warning beep at some point this year.  When your CO alarm indicates the need for replacement, it’s imperative you install a new alarm immediately.

When your CO alarm nears its expiration, the end-of-life indicator will sound. It’s important to remember that changing the alarm battery will not stop the end-of-life beeping. Knowing how to identify this beep is essential to keeping your home safe.

CO is a colorless, odorless and tasteless poisonous gas that can be fatal when inhaled.  Mild exposure can cause a slight headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms.  Extreme exposure can cause convulsions, unconsciousness, brain damage, heart and lung failure followed by death.

If your CO alarm goes off get to fresh air and call 911.  If you are unable to leave your home, open the doors and windows, and turn off all possible sources of CO while you are waiting for assistance to arrive.  Under no circumstance should an alarm be ignored.

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jrl Oct 18, 2018 11:33 AM
It's Time to Install New Carbon Monoxide Alarms

I have an all electric apartment. No fireplace. No garage. Heating, water heater and cooking is all electric. Do I need a carbon monoxide detector ???? Is it still the law to have one installed ??? Thanks for any info on this matter.

CCHandyMan Oct 18, 2018 09:58 AM
It's Time to Install New Carbon Monoxide Alarms

That brings up an interesting point. I have a combination smoke and CO alarm with a 10 year battery in it. After the ten years you just remove it and install a new one. BUT, where do you install it? High or low? I've always been instructed to install smoke alarms within 10 " of the ceiling because smoke rises and that CO is slightly lighter than air so it pretty much disperses evenly into a room.

jak Oct 18, 2018 08:42 AM
It's Time to Install New Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Bug girl is thinking along the right lines but has her physics just a bit off. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a diatomic molecule with a molecular weight of 28 and air is essentially diatomic nitrogen with a molecular weight of 28 and some diatomic oxygen with a molecular weight of 32. So CO tends to mix with air rather than rise to the top or settle to the bottom but most CO comes from smoldering or burning materials so it is hot and will tend to rise initially. For the best early warning, CO detectors should be high rather than low. Personally, I favor combined smoke/CO detectors mounted on the ceiling and powered by AC with internal long life nonreplaceable lithium batteries that are interconnected throughout the house. Install a CO detector in or near every room with a fuel-burning item such as a fireplace (including wood), a gas appliance, or a door leading to a utility area with fuel burning devices. Make sure to use interconnected models where building wiring permits (there are Bluetooth types available for older buildings). Replace as recommended.

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