Carbon Monoxide Detector Law

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It could save your life!

Carbon Monoxide Safety 


Smoke Detector Graphic 2 

A state law that went into effect on July 1st, 2011, requires a carbon monoxide detector be installed in all single-family homes that have an attached garage, fireplace or a fossil-burning heater. Multi-family residences, such as apartment buildings, had until 2013 to comply.

The State Air Resources Board estimates that carbon monoxide poisoning causes 30 to 40 deaths every year in California. The Board said inhalation of the gas has led to about 175 to 700 emergency room and hospital visits within a three-year period in California. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. A detector is the only way to tell if you have carbon monoxide in your home or business.

Carbon monoxide detectors are inexpensive and can be purchased at most home improvement stores locally in the city of Santee.


The California State Fire Marshal has created this frequently asked questions (FAQ) list on carbon monoxide devices to provide the citizens of California with information on this important matter.

What is Senate Bill No. 183 (SB-183)?

  • SB-183 is also known as the “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act.”  This Senate bill requires that a carbon monoxide (CO) detector be installed in all dwelling units intended for human occupancy.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

  • Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced from heaters, fireplaces, furnaces and many types of appliances and cooking devices. It can also be produced by vehicles that are idling.

What was the effective date for installing a CO device?

  • For a single-family dwelling, the effective date was July 1, 2011. For all other dwelling units, the effective date was January 1, 2013.

Where can I find a list of all CSFM-listed carbon monoxide devices?

  • Click on the link below to reach a document entitled “List of Approved Devices.”

What is the definition of a dwelling unit?

  • A dwelling unit is defined as a single-family dwelling, duplex, lodging house, dormitory, hotel, motel, condominium, timeshare project or dwelling unit in a multiple-unit dwelling unit building.

Where should CO devices be installed in homes?

  • They should be installed outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. The manufacturer’s installation instruction should also be followed. 

How many types of CO devices are available?

  • There are three types: 1) carbon monoxide alarms (CSFM category # 5276), 2) carbon monoxide detectors (CSFM category # 5278), and 3) combination smoke/carbon monoxide detectors (CSFM category # 7256 or 7257). 

What is the difference between a carbon monoxide alarm and a carbon monoxide detector?

  • A carbon monoxide alarm is a stand-alone unit which is tested to Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Standard 2034 and has its own built-in power supply and audible device. These units are typically installed in your single-family dwelling. A carbon monoxide detector is a system unit which is tested to UL Standard 2075 and is designed to be used with a fire alarm system and receives its power from the fire alarm panel.

Are CO devices required to be approved by the State Fire Marshal?

  • Yes. SB-183 prohibits the marketing, distribution or sale of devices unless it is approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal.

If someone has a CO device that is not listed by the State Fire Marshal prior to the law, can they maintain it or does it have to be replaced?

  • The law required that CO devices be approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal. It does not prohibit someone who already owns the device prior to the effective date of Senate Bill (SB) 183.

Where does one obtain a copy of a California State Fire Marshal (CSFM) listing of CO device?

  • Copies of CSFM listing of CO devices can be found on the State Fire Marshal Website or [Click Here] for a PDF copy of the list.

Where can I go to receive further information on carbon monoxide?

  • You may go the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL-FIRE) website at and click on Carbon Monoxide under “Hot Topics.”

Who can we contact at CAL-FIRE/CSFM for additional information?

  • Questions regarding carbon monoxide devices may be addressed to Deputy Mike Tanaka at (916)445-8533 or