California law requires a carbon monoxide detector in every home
(essentially) as of July 1st.
Since I need to get a few, do you guys recommend any particular CO
I'm planning on putting one in each bedroom; but I'm not sure if they
belong in the garage or kitchen.
Check the local code. I doubt the garage is needed as there could be many
false alarms. Why each bedroom? CO only comes from a couple of sources. I
have mine in the hallway, just outside the bedrooms as the CO has to travel
that way to get to them. A second one is about 12' away from the heater, the
main source of CO.
I agree with check the code.
Battery? Hardwired? Plug-in? Interconnect with fire alarms?
I also agree that hallways outside the bedrooms are likely where they
would be installed.
If you want to be code compliant you need to know what the code requires.
Decide whether you want a combined CO and smoke alarm and whether you
want stand-alone or interconnected (as in if the battery is low in 1 -
even hardwired ones need a battery - all of them start beeping). Then
price them too.
The ones consumerreports.com recommend
First Alert CO615
Type: Stand-Alone Models
Price as tested:
First Alert OneLInk SCO501CN
Type: Interconnected Models
Price as tested:
CO detectors have a rather limited life span. According to CU, CO
detectors need to be replaced every 5 years. That adds to the expense.
This news is by itself interesting, but may be incomplete: in Ontario,
Canada, the current requirement (since the 1980s) is for smoke
detectors, not CO1 detectors (which appeared on the market
not much later -- but are increasingly popular.)
Are few CA households all-electric, heating and cooking
solely with electricity (not oil or gas)? All-electric houses
(like mine) are unlikely to generate CO1, whatever goes
wrong: if a fire started, modern smoke detectors seem to
offer the best warning. (Mind you, sources of open fire,
e.g. wood stoves or fireplaces, are prudently supplied with
a CO1 detector.)
I'd check with your local fire dept. I bought one recently and it was
useless. Always gave the same reading, even when put in a propane
oven. Find out where you can have one tested, to make sure it
actually works. Again, I'd suggest the fire dept. They could at
least direct you.
Another thing, and this applies to both CO and smoke alarms. Get an
AC powered device. Not because they are more reliable or dectect any
better, but they have an honest-ta-gawd horn/buzzer/klaxon. There's
no chance of not hearing my Sears AC smoke alarm. That sucker will
flat blow yer ass clean outta bed! ;)
What reading was that? If it wasn't zero, then that's a problem, but
if it was zero, then that's normal. A gas oven should not be expected
to contain CO unless you had contrived to starve the flame of oxygen.
Heck, my 11 year old car tests zero for CO on its periodic emissions
testing. CO should normally be pretty rare anywhere in living
CO detector test kits are available, they have little breakable
ampules of the gas, you put the ampule and the detector in a ziplock
bag and break the ampule within the bag. Look on the shelves where the
detectors are sold or with all the other test kits for stuff we never
used to be scared of.
I have not seen a battery-only CO (or gas) detector, I presume because
they inherently use more power than can be supplied by a battery with
a practical replacement interval (smoke detectors basically just need
a bias voltage). But the ones I've seen have battery backup.
I have not found a smoke, gas or CO detector that I'd fault for having
too quiet an alarm. In fact I'm convinced that most of them are so
loud that they interfere with calm, correct response, and with
communication, in an actual emergency. Mebbe they ought to have a
brief ultraloud initial alarm that ramps down a few dB lower 10 or 15
seconds...wonder if I can patent that.
As for placement, since the OP's motivation is to follow the law, then
the law probably specifies where to put them. Of course it may say
"per manufacturer's instructions". The CO detectors I've bought have
instructions that if there's only one in the house, it should go in
the vicinity of the bedrooms. There have been other threads on this
group about how CO disperses; I think the bottom line is that it
spreads pretty much uniformly (or failing that, unpredictably) in air
so the detectors are best located near the people that they're
"California homeowners will be required to install carbon monoxide detectors
starting in July 2011 under a bill signed Friday by Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger that is aimed at preventing deaths and injuries caused by
poisoning from the odorless, colorless gas.
"Up to 40 California residents die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning,
according to state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), whose legislation was
signed by the governor. "
Let's do some math:
There are about 12 million households in California. Assuming a CO detector
costs, on average, fifteen dollars, then $180 million dollars will be
extracted from the California economy in an ATTEMPT to save forty lives.
I know maths is hard, but geeze!
40 lives per year over the 5 year life expectancy CO detectors means
200 lives may be saved by 180 megabucks. That's one life may be saved
per expenditure of 9 megabucks.
How much is yours worth? Your spouse's? Your childrens'? Those of
your parents? How much would you pay to capture an assassin going after
your mother? How much would you sue for if a member of your family
ran into a wrongful death?
- Don Klipstein ( email@example.com)
A lot of people don't have the good luck to die from CO poisoning but
instead become drooling human vegetables.
<<This brain damage occurs mainly during the recovery period. This may
result in cognitive defects, especially affecting memory and learning, and
movement disorders. These disorders are typically related to damage to the
cerebral white matter and basal ganglia. Hallmark pathological changes
following poisoning are bilateral necrosis of the white matter, globus
pallidus, cerebellum, hippocampus and the cerebral cortex. . . . The delayed
development of neuropsychiatric impairment is one of the most serious
complications of carbon monoxide poisoning. Brain damage is confirmed
following MRI or CAT scans. Extensive follow up and supportive treatment is
often required for delayed neurological damage. Outcomes are often difficult
to predict following poisoning especially patients who have symptoms of
cardiac arrest, coma, metabolic acidosis, or have high carboxyhemoglobin
levels. One study reported that approximately 30% of people with severe
carbon monoxide poisoning will have a fatal outcome.>>
Factor in the cost of lifetime care for seriously brain damaged victims of
CO poisoning and the equation changes mightily. Fetuses of pregnant women
exposed to CO even minimally fare very poorly.
Ironically, I read that low doses of CO are being investigated for possible
health benefits. Meat packers treat meat with CO because it keeps it bright
red and much more saleable.
FDA Is Urged to Ban Carbon-Monoxide-Treated Meat
<<The gas, harmless to health at the levels being used, gives meat a bright
pink color that lasts weeks. The hope is that it will save the industry much
of the $1 billion it says it loses annually from having to discount or
discard meat that is reasonably fresh and perfectly safe but no longer
Food safety advocates claim that the meat stays red, even when thoroughly
spoiled, making it harder for consumers to buy meat safely.
I'd pay all I had. On the other hand, to save your spouse, or the guy who
lives on Elm Street, in the last house on the right in Bumfuck, Idaho, I'd
It is really, really foolish to make public policy based on a particular,
For the $9 million to save one life, we could test EVERY newborn black child
in the country for Sickle-Cell Anemia. We could put CO detector is EVERY
elementary school classroom in the state, and so on.
I'm not saying CO detection is fundamentally flawed; I'm saying that for
that much money there are hundreds of projects where one could get a bigger
bang for the buck.
That is the way it is. Worry about the small numbers and forget about the
larger ones. I do not know the number of people in California,but over the
US there are 30,000 to 50,000 people killed in car accidents each year.
Nothing much is done about that.
All this nanny legislation is driven by the insurance companies
looking to create loopholes in payout lawsuits. Didn't have an
accurate recently calibrated CO detector? Sorry, we don't hafta pay
hospital expenses on yer persistant vegitative state wife. You can
believe they are doing it with automobiles, too. Data collection
boxes that record how fast you were going when you slammed on the
brakes prior to skidding into that light pole. Yer fault! You were
speeding. Sorry. Broken airbag when yer head slammed into the
windsheild? No money fer you.
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