Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

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A tip which saved my life and maybe yours. Our house was just a couple of years old when my husband accepted a job which required him to be out of town most weekdays. Our budget could allow either new mulch in the natural areas or a security system installed.


Fortunately reason won out and I chose the security system. As an aside, the rep asked if we wanted to add a carbon monoxide detector and we said we might as well since they were going to be here. It had been installed for less than 6 months when it saved my life. I had returned from a trip, came in turned the heat up, turned on the gas logs, and settled in to catch up on the mail and newspapers as I warmed myself by the fire. I got drowsy, turned off the logs, and went to bed around 11 p.m.

I had just drifted off to sleep when a shrill siren started blasting. I was a bit disoriented and couldn't figure out what it was or where it was coming from. An ADT representative called and told me my carbon monoxide detector was activated. She called the local fire department. They quickly arrived and got a dangerously high reading on the concentration of carbon monoxide. A representative from the gas company was called. He couldn't detect if there was a gas leak or not because of the high level of carbon monoxide in the house.

All ended well. I was told to go spend the night elsewhere and leave the window in the room open, and a fan on (A kind neighbor who saw the flashing lights graciously took me in).

The next day the man from the gas company detected a large leak in the burner on the gas logs. These logs were around two years old and were rarely used! Who would have thought such a thing could happen. I certainly hadn't given it any thought. Our builder said he would never build another house without installing a carbon monoxide detector.

Please take note--there are many sources for carbon monoxide poisoning. Just because you don't use gas doesn't necessarily insure your safety. Any source of fossil fuel can produce it. I called the local paper and asked them to alert readers to this danger.

Lowe's couldn't keep carbon monoxide detectors on the shelf for the next week or so. If you don't have one already, please consider getting one. Tell your friends and family as well. I will be forever grateful that we had been safely guided through a possible tragedy.

By Sandy from Elon, NC

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March 17, 20090 found this helpful

Excellent post! Carbon monoxide detectors are so inexpensive and you can get one you just plug into a socket. So easy and yet can save your life! Thanks for posting this great tip.

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March 20, 20090 found this helpful

I bought one, along with some smoke detectors, as soon as we bought this house. I never got to meet one of my aunts because she died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a car; she was only 21. So I've been paranoid about CO poisoning ever since.


Good for you, having the presence of mind to go with the security/CO detector system, instead of the mulch. Glad to hear you're safe and sound!

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March 27, 20100 found this helpful

I'm glad it all turned out well for you, and this is a good reminder. Thank you!

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March 29, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you Sandy for this excellent post. We live in Florida, and so seldom need to use heat, but I don't think I want to use any at all without having a Carbon Monoxide Detector now. I don't even know that we need one, but your story has certainly made us aware of a potential threat, so I'm going to find out if we need it.


Thankfully, you had an alarm that woke you, but we've heard too many stories that didn't have such happy endings.
All the best to you, Julia in Boca Raton, FL

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March 29, 20100 found this helpful

A carbon monoxide detector saved lives at my house also. My husband was in the hospital in Critical Condition and my step-son was in town along with 2 of my husbands sisters from Tennessee.

I got a call at the hospital from my sister-in-law saying there was a loud buzzing coming from the basement. My stepson went home to check it out. When he discovered that it was the carbon monoxide detector we called the gas company. They made everyone immediately leave the house and they opened all the windows and doors. They said that the safe level was 9 and the level they were getting was 84.


This was caused by birds that had fell down the chimney and clogged the exhaust exit from the furnace. Needless to say, there were some pretty crispy dead birds in the furnace system.

The gas man suggested putting a screen on the top of our chimney to prevent this from happening again. This happened in the early evening, so if my the out of town guests would have went to bed, they wouldn't have woke up. Thank goodness I invested in the carbon monoxide detector. As I recall it cost around $24 dollars and just installed like a smoke detector on the wall.

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March 30, 20100 found this helpful

Be very careful about telling others your husband is gone weekdays. I live in Greensboro and a friend of mine posted on facebook that her husband was out of town and her house as broken into on that night. She was lucky enough to run out the side door, but never let anyone know you are alone for your own safety.

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April 1, 20100 found this helpful

Sandy, thank you for a very informative post. I was pleased to read that yours was a happy ending.

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