Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, invisible gas produced when any fuel such as natural gas, kerosene, wood, oil or even common barbecue charcoal is burned. At high levels without proper ventilation carbon monoxide can kill humans in a very short period of time, even after just a few minutes. Moreover, there is credible research that acute exposure or poisoning by CO can cause chronic health effects such as lethargy, severe headaches, amnesia, psychosis, concentration problems, memory impairment, personality alterations, and even Parkinson’s disease. The American Medical Association states that CO is the primary cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States year after year. The federal Centers for Disease Control estimates that CO poisoning kills approximately 500 people annually and causes another approximately 20,000 injuries per year. Needless to say CO is a very important topic and issue for property managers to understand and embrace in order to act as professionally as possible and to protect their client’s best interests.
Today there are laws requiring listed and labeled CO detectors within all residences, rental units, investment properties, multi-family residences, and apartment buildings. It is tantamount for property managers and property management companies to be fully educated about CO, CO detectors, CO poisoning, exposure and prevention. There are also some ‘best practices’ guidelines for property managers to be mindful of and incorporate Bug Detector into their property inspection checklists.
Various State Laws Require Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Dwellings
In California as of July 2011 the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010, (hereinafter “The Act”) requires carbon monoxide detectors to be installed within every dwelling unit intended for human occupancy. The Act also requires CO detectors to be installed in ‘all other existing dwelling units’ on or before January 1, 2013. Thus, as of 2014 “ALL” dwelling units need to be equipped with properly listed and labeled CO detectors.
How are CO Detectors Energized
The standards for manufacture of CO detectors are well documented in state laws. Standard 720 of the National Fire Protection Association is the basis for manufactured detectors. Most home improvement and hardware stores carry several code complying varieties of detectors. CO detectors can be battery powered, can be plug-in (outlet) with battery backup, or can be hardwired with battery backup. CO detectors that are manufactured with a combination smoke detector must emit an alarm or voice warning with each signal different than the other.
Where in a Dwelling Unit are CO Detectors Required?
CO detectors are required to be installed in a manner consistent with building code standards for new construction. For minimum effectiveness and security CO detectors should be located outside of each sleeping room or in the vicinity of bedrooms. CO detectors must also be installed in every level of a dwelling unit including basements within which fuel-burning appliances exist and dwelling units that have attached garages. The CO detectors should be at least six (6″) inches from exterior walls; three (3′) feet from HVAC supply or return ducting vents, and not obstructed by other equipment, furniture, or occupant belongings.