New State Law Requires Carbon Monoxide Detectors In All Homes

A new law regarding carbon monoxide (CO) detectors became effective in California on July 1 in order...

carbon monoxide detectorA new law regarding carbon monoxide (CO) detectors became effective in California on July 1 in order to save potential victims from toxic gas poisoning. After being signed by Governor Schwarzenegger last year, the law requires that CO detectors be placed in every household across the state.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is often referred to as “the silent killer” because of its toxicity. According to a recent press release, “Carbon monoxide is a product of incomplete combustion of organic matter due to insufficient oxygen supply to enable complete oxidation to carbon dioxide (CO2).” It can be found in homes that use older cars, gasoline-powered tools, heaters, and stoves and furnaces that are not properly ventilated.

"The law mandates that all California dwelling units be equipped with one or more carbon monoxide detectors", says Matt Liesemeyer of MHL Construction and Consulting, a Menifee-based contractor who installs CO detectors. "Landlords have to inform their renters about the about the presence or absence of CO detectors. In addition, if someone were to die in a home as a result of CO poisoning, and no detector was present, it becomes a criminal offense", Liesemeyer added.

Liesemeyer, who's been in the construction industry for 15 years, helps homeowners identify optimal locations for new CO detectors. "They should be placed one foot from the ceiling on every level of the home within hearing range, and they should not be placed in bathrooms or near fuel burning, heating or cooking appliances."

Since the July 1st law went into effect, few homeowners have installed detectors. "I would venture to say at least 90% of the homes in Menifee are without CO detectors", Liesemeyer said. "People don't really know about the law. There haven't been many publications talking about this."

With respect to enforcement of the new law, the City of Menifee won't be going door-to-door checking for CO detectors. Tony Elmo, a building official with the City of Menifee explains. "We can't go door to door to check for carbon monoxide detectors, but what we'll be doing is enforcing this new law on new home construction or when homeowners remodel."

"Enforcement is also handled during the sale of a property", Liesemeyer added "If trying to sell your home and it doesn't have a CO detector, you are required to disclose that to the buyer."

Liesemeyer offers a variety of residential, commercial and industrial improvement services, including lighting, kitchen, plumbing, and drywall, He also repairs real estate owned property after it has been damaged by foreclosure.

"I really want to let people know about the carbon monoxide law, and for them to be aware of the potential hazards,” he said. "I take my work very seriously. Every job I take, I focus on quality.”

Liesemeyer's prices vary, but he offers project analysis and competitive bidding.

For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning, CO detector installation, or general contractor inquiries, Call Matt Liesemeyer at (951) 757-4763 or send an email to


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  1. Wow, interesting article. I was not aware of the new law. I wonder if the Board of Realtors is making their agents and home sellers aware of this?

  2. A correction to the above article should be made.
    Whereas typical smoke detectors that detect smoke which always rises, Carbon Monoxide is slightly heavier than air which means it will typically begin concentration near the floor. If the air temperature in the room is warmer then Carbon Monoxide will rise and mix with room air. It is STRONGLY ADVISED that two CO detectors be installed, one near the ceiling and one at about the level of a typical electrical outlet. Several CO detectors are plug in style and would be at the perfect level for the lower unit. Remember, these detectors should be installed near the entrance to all bedrooms within your home. If you have bedrooms on more than 1 floor, or at opposite sides of your home you will need multiple detectors.

  3. Actually that's not true- carbon monoxide is roughly the same weight as air (carbon monoxide's specific gravity is 0.9657, as stated by the EPA; the National Resource Council lists the specific gravity of air as one), it may be contained in warm air coming from combustion appliances such as home heating equipment. If this is the case, carbon monoxide will rise with the warmer air.

    You can, however, never have enough protection. Placement varies by manufacturer so please read instructions prior to installation. If you are still unclear you can contact me.

  4. we install them in all foreclosed homes, we rekey many foreclosures...and have them in our own home also...easy to install, by the way....

  5. As a former emergency response leader and by the recommendation of home safety experts I have 2 CO sensors installed in my home. 1 unit is plugged into the wall as a previous person mentioned and it reads the actual concentration of CO. The second unit is installed about 1 foot from the ceiling. These are installed in the same general location which is just outside all of the bedrooms in my home. As mentioned above, CO is slightly heavier than air and numerous cases have been reported, especially in winter weather where the CO will hug the floor and having only 1 sensor at the height of the ceiling would result in death. Either way, you cannot be to safe if you care for you and your loved ones.

  6. Carbon monoxide is NOT slightly heavier than air. It’s very slightly lighter.

    Normal motion of the gases in a room will mix carbon monoxide and the other components of air such that they all will be in virtually the same concentration at the ceiling and the floor.



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