Pennsylvania lawmakers this fall may consider a bill that would require carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in homes when they are sold.

The detectors have been required in new construction for years.

State Senator Pat Browne said there would be a different requirement for rentals.

"For residential property that's used for rental purposes, there's an obligation to install a carbon monoxide detector outside the sleeping area in that residential property within one year of the effective date of this act," said Browne.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced by the incomplete combustion of fuel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide poisoning sends more than 20,000 Americans to the emergency room each year.

A similar law was enacted in 2003 in New Jersey and Elizabeth Pellerin is glad it was. She sold her Sicklerville townhouse in 2006 and installed a detector as part of the transaction.

Two weeks after a new family moved in, Pellerin got a phone call saying the detector had gone off in the middle of the night.

"If they did not have that detector, they quite possibly…could have died in their sleep because it's a silent killer,” Pellerin said. “Had I not installed that, I could have been indirectly responsible for the deaths of three people."

Under the Pennsylvania proposal, the detectors could be hard-wired or battery-operated, and the buyer and seller would negotiate to determine who would foot the bill.

The bill has passed out of committee and will wait to be heard by the full Senate.