Protecting Families from the “Silent Killer”

In May 2010, an important public safety measure was signed in to a law requiring all California homes to be equipped with carbon monoxide alarms. Note; CO alarms are required IN ADDITION to smoke alarms and are not intended to replace them. Carbon Monoxide is known as the “Silent Killer” because it is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that can catch it’s victims completely unaware. Detection of CO in a home is nearly impossible by humans. Symptoms of poisoning are similar to the flu. Nausea, vomiting, confusion, sore muscles, headache, dizziness and loss of balance.

The CDC reports that an average of 439 people died annually between 1999-2004 from non-fire related CO poisoning. Many more are hospitalized due to symptoms of CO exposure.

Types of detectors

Electromechanical – This is a dominant technology used in the United States. A sensor that creates an electric charge which varies with the amount of CO present. They use little power and operate at room temperature.

Biometric – These detectors have a sensor which changes color in the presense of CO. Just like blood, the sensor gets darker with higher concentrations of CO. An optical sensor reacts to the changing color. These detectors are very accurate and are used in higher-end facilities such as hospitals, where the cost of a false alarm can be high.

Residential ( CA residential code 2010 )
All newly constructed detached one and two-family dwellings and townhouses not more than three stories in height that contain fuel burning appliances or an attached garage. Also, when such an existing dwelling requires a permit for alterations, repairs or additions exceeding $1,000.

EXISTING HOMES: May be battery operated, plug-in with battery backup, or hardwired with battery backup/

INSTALLATION: CO alarms must be installed outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity and on every level.