Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Law for Carbon Monoxide Detectors, CA Senate Bill 183

California residents must have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes as of July 1, 2011. Condo's, Townhouses, apartments, dupelexes must have them by Jan. 2013. 
Expect to see this new inspection item in your home inspection report. Home inspectors will be required to report on the presence or absence of a working Carbon Monoxide detector just like they report on Smoke Detectors, and water heater strapping.
SB 183

This bill requires that a carbon monoxide device be installed in existing dwellings intended for human occupancy that have a fossil fuel burning (Gas,Propane,Kerosene, Coal or wood) appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage, provides that the exclusive remedy for failure to install a device is actual damages not to exceed $100, exclusive of any court costs and attorney’s fees, revises the statutory Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement to require the seller of a one-to-four residential property or manufactured home to make certain disclosures regarding carbon monoxide devices, smoke detectors, and water heaters, and requires the owner of a rental dwelling unit to maintain carbon monoxide devices in the unit.

This bill revises the statutory transfer disclosure statement as follows:

1. Requires the seller to check off whether or not the property has one or more carbon monoxide devices.

2. Adds a footnote to the statement advising buyers that installation of a carbon monoxide device is not a precondition of sale.

3. Requires a seller to certify, as opposed to checking off as under existing law, which the property is in compliance with laws requiring smoke detectors and the bracing of water heaters.

This bill requires that a carbon monoxide device be installed in existing dwellings intended for human occupancy that have a fossil fuel burning appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage beginning January 1, 2011 for single-family dwelling units and January 1, 2012 for all other units.

This bill provides that failure to install a carbon monoxide device is an infraction. Under the bill, an owner must first be given a 30-day notice to correct the violation and, if it is not corrected within that time period, the owner is subject to a fine of $200 for each offense.

This bill requires a property owner to maintain carbon monoxide devices in a rental dwelling unit and would require that the devices be operable at the time the tenant takes possession of the unit. This bill requires a tenant to notify the landlord if the tenant becomes aware that the device is inoperable or deficient and would require the landlord to correct the reported inoperability or deficiency. This bill provides that a landlord is not in violation if he/she has not received the notification from the tenant.

This bill provides that a landlord may enter the dwelling unit for the purpose of installing, repairing, testing, and maintaining carbon monoxide devices pursuant to the requirements of Civil Code Section 1954.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Law to Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (CO)

SB 183 requires existing homes and dwelling units to be outfitted with carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, beginning in July 2011. The new law will complement provisions in the 2010 California Residential Code and 2010 California Building Code that require the installation of CO detection and notification devices in new dwellings in the state, beginning in January 2011. With passage of this law, California joins more than two dozen other states in requiring CO protection in homes and other residential and commercial occupancies.

Each year in America, carbon monoxide poisoning claims approximately 400 lives and sends another 20,000 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.  Protect yourself rom deadly carbon monoxide fumes. Please read and follow the safety tips below.

Understanding the Risk

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide 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. 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.

Where does carbon monoxide come from?

CO gas can come from several sources: gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood-burning furnaces or fireplaces and motor vehicles.

Who is at risk?

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Medical experts believe that unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with heart or lung problems are at even greater risk for CO poisoning.

What Actions Do I Take if My Carbon Monoxide Alarm Goes Off?

What you need to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off depends on whether anyone is feeling ill or not.

If no one is feeling ill:

Silence the alarm.

Turn off all appliances and sources of combustion (i.e. furnace and fireplace).

Ventilate the house with fresh air by opening doors and windows.

Call a qualified professional to investigate the source of the possible CO buildup. (Fire department)

If illness is a factor:

Evacuate all occupants immediately.

Determine how many occupants are ill and determine their symptoms.

Call your local emergency number and when relaying information to the dispatcher, include the number of people feeling ill.

Do not re-enter the home without the approval of a fire department representative.

Call a qualified professional to repair the source of the CO.

In what areas should the Detectors be installed? 
Make sure the CO detector you choose conforms to Underwriters Laboratory standard UL 2034 for carbon monoxide detectors. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends at least one CO detector be installed on each floor of every single-family residence. A CO detector should be installed within 10 feet of all sleeping areas, and one should be installed in the same area, but no closer than 5 feet from, any major gas-burning appliance. Follow the manufacturer's recommendation regarding placement of CO detectors. Some recommend placement near the floor; others recommend installing CO detectors close to the ceiling.

Safety Tips

Have your home heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.

Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open. Use generators outside only, far away from the home.

Never bring a charcoal grill into the house for heating or cooking. Do not barbeque in the garage.

Never use a gas range or oven for heating.

Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.

Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 911.

Know the Symptoms of CO Poisoning
Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:

Headache, Fatigue, Shortness of breath, Nausea, Dizziness

High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

Mental confusion, Vomiting, Loss of muscular coordination, Loss of consciousness and
Ultimately death

Symptom severity is related to both the CO level and the duration of exposure. For slowly developing residential CO problems, occupants and/or physicians can mistake mild to moderate CO poisoning symptoms for the flu, which sometimes results in tragic deaths. For rapidly developing, high level CO exposures (e.g., associated with use of generators in residential spaces), victims can rapidly become mentally confused, and can lose muscle control without having first experienced milder symptoms; they will likely die if not rescued.