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Be Aware of These 10 Potential Dangers in Your Home Sweet Home

There’s no place like home. It’s where you feel safe, comfortable and cozy…and that’s a good thing. However, even inside your safe haven there can be some potentially dangerous areas or situations.

Here’s our list of the top 10 potential dangers in your home.

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What To Do When a Carbon Monoxide Alarm Goes Off

Last night at 11:15 Kristin and the kids were asleep and I was sitting in my chair watching TV when all of the detectors in the house went off at once and a none too reassuring voice shouted, “Carbon Monoxide Alert…[repeatedly].”  So what are you supposed to do then?  Here’s what we did.

1. Open the windows to get fresh air / go outside

2. Get a head count – wake the kids up and make sure everyone is conscious

3. Turn off all sources of combustion (furnace, water heater, gas stove/oven, etc). The only apliance running was our water heater so I turned off the gas supply and then turned the second gas control knob off.

4. We were pretty sure we were leaving but I chose to reset the alarm… and 3 minutes later it went off again

5. We confirmed our decision to go to a hotel

6. This morning I called my heating and cooling professional to come find the source

7. I called my plumber to price a new water heater (I’m pretty sure that’s the culprit – the oldest appliance in the house) and we’re due for a new one. Preferably a direct vent water heater.

Now there was one step I didn’t mention.  Step 4B was to go upstairs and google symptoms of CO poisoning.  Wouldn’t you know I instantly got a headache and my stomach felt queezy.  Carbon Monoxide is known as a silent killer.  It is odorless, tasteless, and essentially undetectable.  One possible signal that an appliance is potentially dangerous is that the flame is weak or lazy.

Two action steps that I am requesting of you:

1. Get a carbon monoxide detector and hardwired smoke detectors – all of which I prefer to have a licensed electrician install.

2. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

What To Do When A Carbon Monoxide Alarm Goes Off

Last night at 11:15 Kristin and the kids were asleep and I was sitting in my chair watching TV when all of the detectors in the house went off at once and a none too reassuring voice shouted, “Carbon Monoxide Alert…[repeatedly].”  So what are you supposed to do then?  Here’s what we did.

  1. Open the windows to get fresh air / go outside
  2. Get a head count – wake the kids up and make sure everyone is conscious
  3. Turn off all sources of combustion (furnace, water heater, gas stove/oven, etc) The only appliance running was our water heater so I turned off the gas supply and then turned the second gas control knob to off.
  4. We were pretty sure we were leaving but I chose to reset the alarm…and 3 minutes later it went off again
  5. We confirmed our decision to go to a hotel
  6. This morning I called my heating and cooling professional to come find the source
  7. I called my plumber to price a new water heater (I’m pretty sure that’s the culprit – the oldest appliance in the house) and we’re due for a new one.  Preferably a direct vent water heater

Now there was one step I didn’t mention.  Step 4B was to go upstairs and google symptoms of CO poisoning.  Wouldn’t you know I instantly got a headache and my stomach felt queezy. 🙂  Carbon Monoxide is known as a silent killer.  It is odorless, tasteless, and essentially undetectable.  One possible signal that an appliance is potentially dangerous is that the flame is weak or lazy.

Two action steps that I am requesting of you:

  1. Get a carbon monoxide detector and hardwired smoke detectors – all of which I prefer to have a licensed electrician install.
  2. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

CO

Here’s the Mini-Skinny on Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

Why it’s dangerous:

CO inhibits your body’s ability to absorb oxygen.  It’s odorless and colorless, and can lead to death in enough cases to make it a s.  It is caused by incomplete combustion  from an open flame, negative pressure on a home sucking back into the home combustion vapors, or possibly from a blocked chimney.

Who should install them:

To do it yourself you can pick up a battery powered unit for $20-60.  An electrician can install an integrated carbon monoxide detector for $150-250.  (This is what I have in my house for the reasons below.)

Where to locate them:

At minimum you would like to put one near the bedroom wing of a house.  Ideal height is 5′ off the ground but for a host of reasons (durability & aesthetics) I say the ceiling is a fine location.

False sense of security:

“Lifetime battery” units last about 6 yrs.  More troubling to me is that the sensors on even the best units last maybe 10 years so these are items that require infrequent, but some maintenance.

For a more exhaustive writing beyond my opinions and factoids on the issue of carbon monoxide visit this government site: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/466.html

 

 

This Week – Energy Tax Credits, Carbon Monoxide

Join us Saturday 8-9am for live calls and feature content – Energy Tax Credits, a new law requiring Carbon Monoxide detectors, small changes to your kitchen that make a BIG difference, and more!