Saturday, January 10, 2009

A public service announcement

My guest room, bedroom and upstairs hallway are now equipped with carbon monoxide alarms.
I've had that square one for 10 years. Who knows if it still works. (Is there a way to test these things?) From what I've read, the cheap ones are just as effective as the pricey ones, so I got a couple new ones for $20 each from Amazon, with free shipping.

Why am I telling you this? Because I don't want you to end up like that poor family on vacation in Aspen, the mom in Manitou Springs or that grad student at DU.

Go get yourself at least one, OK? And check the batteries in your smoke detector(s) while you're at it.

I'd hate to lose you!


  1. good 'sound' advice - I am going to test mine now...I have one that plays a recorded message that I was able to record...

  2. I think I read somewhere that a loud alarm should be near the potential source of carbon monoxide -- and that by the time the gas gets to rooms in a home, it can be a bit late. Sorry that I can't remember where I read it, but it makes sense.

    Not sure how that would relate to an apartment layout, where an alarm in/near the bedroom also seems sensible.

    Also, in our efforts to winterize our homes, we are making them more airtight. In that regard, the old-time practice of cracking a window in each bedroom, even in winter, makes sense -- not that I do it, of course.

  3. Well, you have effectively scared the s*** out of me. So I guess I'll buy one today. Thanks for watching out for us.

  4. They are important to have around. We have them all around the house.

  5. I have one and hate it because it takes a special battery that I have to go store to store hunting for. I see yours plug into an outlet, which I love. I might have to get a couple of those. The only downfall to that is they won't work during a power outage. Three people in the NE died of carbon monoxide poisoning from misused generators during the recent ice storm.

  6. I tired to find some earlier in the week at Target, but like in other places in Denver metro, they were sold out. I was going to go back out and look, but just ordered two from Amazon too. Thanks for the post! Otherwise I may have never gotten them.

  7. DB, and what does your recorded message say? I'm really curious now!

    Claire, the instructions suggest placing the alarms on every level of the home and in or near each sleeping area. They also should not be closer than 20 feet to a source of carbon monoxide, and not in a kitchen or anywhere drafty. I figure I'm pretty well covered with these three.

    No worries about this old house being too well-sealed. I know it's not.

    Pam, sorry to scare you1 But not really, if it makes you get an alarm!

    Good for you, Ari!

    Betts, I am bad about checking batteries, so I went with the plug-in variety. You can also get ones with a battery back-up if power outages are a regular occurrence.

    Rochelle, that's exactly why I ordered from Amazon. Everyone was sold out after that family died.

  8. Oh, and one other thing: Get your furnace serviced at least every two years. You will have better efficiency and peace of mind. You can ask the technician to wave their gas and CO detectors around your hot-water heater, too.

  9. How do you get carbon monoxide in the house? Where does it come from? And does the house have to be closed up tight? I didn't even know you could get it inside a house (as opposed to a garage). Maybe because I'm in California where we don't get so cold?

  10. Kathi, any gas-powered appliance produces carbon monoxide, just as your car does. It's also a gas-powered appliance! Gas furnace, gas water heater, gas dryer; all need to be vented correctly or you risk fumes in the house.

    A tiny leak might not cause an immediate problem in a drafty house, but a very well-sealed home could allow a buildup to dangerous levels.

    Similarly, let's say you get cold there in California and decide to haul out a kerosene space heater or, if you're really dumb, a hibachi. You're also at risk of CO poisoning if you don't have adequate ventilation.

  11. No worries for me as I'm all-electric. No worries, that is, until it's time to pay my utility bill. Sigh.

    Happy Sunday,


  12. Thanks for the reminder--I needed that. I read something--forgive me, don't want to spread bad info, but I can't remember where--that said smoke detectors (the entire unit) should be replaced every 8-10 years.

  13. Dani, that's once consolation, I guess. No worries about CO.

    Laura, that wouldn't surprise me. I got new detectors for my house just in case when I moved in.