Effective July 1, 2011 a new law, California Senate Bill 183: The Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Act, requires all existing single family dwellings with an attached garage or fossil fuel burning source such as a fireplace, heater, or appliance have an approved carbon monoxide detector or detectors installed. Owners of multi-family leased or rental dwellings, such as apartments, condominiums, and duplexes, have until January 1, 2013 to install carbon monoxide alarms.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. Each year, CO kills about 480 people, and sends another 15,000 to the hospital. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.
Carbon monoxide detectors may be battery-powered, plug in with battery backup, or hard-wired with a battery backup. At a minimum, a carbon monoxide device or devices must be installed 1) outside of sleeping areas, and 2) with at least one on each level of the residence, including basements. We recommend that in addition, a detector be placed in each sleeping room, but this is not required. Detectors should not be installed directly above or beside fuel-burning appliances, as appliances may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide upon start-up. A detector should not be placed within fifteen feet of heating or cooking appliances or in or near very humid areas such as bathrooms. Detectors should also be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions - particularly with respect to how to choose the exact location for the detector.
Additional information on carbon monoxide safety and symptoms can be found at the following sites: