Nearly every house in California must have a carbon monoxide detector by Friday, thanks to a state law passed last year.
An odorless, colorless gas, carbon monoxide kills up to 40 people a year, according to an official from the California Air Resources Board.
In May 2010, the state passed a law requiring all homes with attached garages or fossil-fuel-burning appliances or heaters to install the detectors.
Owners of apartment buildings and other multifamily buildings with rental units have until July 1, 2013, to come into compliance.
Burning almost any fuel produces the gas; examples include car engines, natural gas furnaces and stoves, and fireplaces.
Without a device, it’s virtually undetectable, said Dimitri Stanich, a public information officer with the California Air Resources Board.
“Carbon monoxide is stealthy. It robs your blood of the ability to carry oxygen, so the person drowns on dry land,” Stanich said.
The law requires detectors in every single-family home with an attached garage or fossil-fuel-burning devices,
Carbon monoxide detectors can cost from $17 to $150 each, but most cost between $20 and $40, based on an informal review of hardware store websites.
The state won’t come into everyone’s home to check for the devices, but inspectors will look for carbon monoxide detectors when homes are sold or if they have other reasons to be in the house.
If a house is missing a detector, the owner could get a 30-day warning. Owners who still don’t install a detector could receive a $200 fine, according to Meegen Murray, an aide to bill author Sen. Alan Lowenthal.
Home Depot spokeswoman Kelly Backus said California sales of the detectors “have seen an uptick” in recent weeks.
Temecula Ace Hardware stocked up with new models, and posted signs alerting customers to the new law in multiple locations in the store.
“I think some (customers) already know, and some are learning when they get here,” said Pam Rice, assistant store manager. “Half and half.”