The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Once again, it seems like I may be stating the obvious. Sometimes, however, there are things that are so important that it’s worth stating again and again –no matter how obvious. CO detectors save lives. They really do. Carbon Monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas which is produced by the burning of fossil fuels (natural gas, propane, oil, wood, coal, etc…) and can be deadly.

I’d like to confess something to you, as well as share a little story.

First my confession… I live in a little chalet with electric heat and a big stone fireplace. When I bought the house 6 years ago and I was told we were waiting on a certificate of compliance from the fire department which stated that we had all the necessary carbon monoxide detectors in place, I thought it was bologna. Why would a house with electric heat need carbon monoxide detectors. Because of a fireplace? Come on! That’s what smoke detector are for.

carbon-monoxide-detectors Now for my story… Recently, we ran a call to a customers house whose carbon monoxide detectors were going off. The family evacuated the house, the fire department responded, and then they called us. The baffling part of it was their heating system was electric. Two big heat pumps which heated the entire house. There was a fireplace, but no fire was burning, and yet we were recording dangerous levels of carbon monoxide throughout the house. It was determined later that the source of the CO was coming from smoldering ash which had been dropped into an ash chute from a fire they had the night before.

Needless to say, I have since changed my view. So if you don’t have any CO detectors in your house, please, go get some. They are cheap. They are important.

Carbon Monoxide Alarm requirements
Since March 31, 2006, carbon monoxide alarms have been required in all residences that have either: fossil fuel burning equipment or an attached enclosed garage. This law applied
to all such residences whether or not the residence is being sold or transferred.


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