It's odorless, tasteless and accumulates, firefighters warn.
Carbon monoxide detectors are now required in apartment complexes and multi-family housing units.
Prior to Jan. 1, detectors were only required in single-family homes or any dwelling with an attached garage by the California Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause frequent headaches, dizziness, confusion, and fainting, experts say.
Capt. Justus Norgord of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department told residents at a recent community meeting that CO detectors should be placed on every floor of a house, but they don't need to be mounted high, like smoke alarms.
CO detectors should be replaced every 5-7 years, according to the captain, but batteries should be tested often, he said.
“Test them once a month,” Norgord suggested. “Many times we respond to homes because of dead batteries in CO monitors.”
Norgord said if you have all electric appliances and no attached garages, you aren't required to have a CO detector.
“If you have an attached garage or anything that burns fossil fuels, you'll need one,” he said.
Here are some more precautions fire professionals offer for homeowners and renters:
- Have your fuel-burning appliances checked by a trained professional
- Read and follow instructions on fuel-burning appliances
- Don't idle your car in the garage
- Don't use a gas oven to heat your home
- Don't ever use a charcoal grill indoors—even in the fireplace
- Don't use any gas powered engines in enclosed spaces
- Don't ignore symptoms of poisoning: severe headaches, dizziness, mental confusion, nausea or fainting
- Keep CO alarms free of dust and debris
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) customers can contact the company at 800-411-SDGE (7343) to schedule a free safety inspection. Additional information about how to safely heat your home this winter is available at www.sdge.com/furnace-safety.