Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Do You Have a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

My neighbors had a seriously close call with carbon monoxide in their home a few days after Christmas. Their carbon monoxide detector went off at a terribly early hour. I think it was five in the morning, but I'm not sure of all the details. They were, however, still asleep at the time. Luckily, they took it seriously, got their two little boys outside and called 911.

The fire department came and inspected the house. It turns out that the carbon monoxide readings in their youngest son's bedroom were extremely high. They later found out that the furnace chimney had a crack in it big enough to stick a hand through. This was news to them and they had no idea how long the crack had been there or how it got there. It seems that the way the weather conditions were that night, there was enough pressure to push all the fumes from the furnace back down through the crack and into their house.

My husband knows the fire chief who responded to the emergency call. The chief said that this family is extrememly lucky they had a working carbon monoxide detector. Had they not had one or had the batteries been dead, chances are, they wouldn't have made it. In just a couple of hours, it would have been to late.

The chief recommended everyone install carbon monoxide detectors in all bedrooms. He said that the current building code for new construction requires it. However, those of us that live in older homes don't have that benefit. It's up to us to make sure our families are safe.

My husband and I have one combo carbon monoxide/smoke detector in our house in the entryway. We have a split level, so this made sense to us. However, in light of our neighbors close call, we are planning on getting one for each bedroom.

A quick Google check led me to this website that recommends carbon monoxide detectors be replaced every five years. That means mine is a couple of years outdated! My husband and I replaced all the batteries in our combo unit and our other three smoke detectors, but we are going to work on updating these very important home safety devices.

How about you? Is your carbon monoxide detector up to date? Do you have one? Does it need a fresh battery? Maybe this week, we should all take care of this super important chore.


  1. Ours is 10 years old, I have wondered if its a bit old. And we only have one on the first floor.

  2. Good for you, Tracy!

    Time to replace it, Tree Huggin Momma. According to the website I linked, it should be near the bedrooms if you only have 1.

  3. Carbon monoxide is a very unhealthy element and should be treated to make way out of the home as soon as it is detected.This should be a very useful and important addition to the home specially for those living near the main roads and exposed to more smoke and pollution.

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