Something you cannot live without

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, and potentially deadly gas. Yet I only recently ordered a carbon monoxide detector for my home. It took four recent deaths in Colorado (an entire family on vacation in Aspen) to finally move me to action.  A fifth death (a Denver student) occurred just a few days ago.

CO is produced by the combustion of various fuels including gas, coal, and oil. If it isn’t properly vented from enclosed spaces, it can build up to levels that can make you quite ill — or very dead.

Many years ago, a heating technician I’d called for a preseason check of my heating system, discovered a crack in the heat exchanger and immediately cut off my gas. No appeals, no delays. It was the law. I was inconvenienced and annoyed at the time (besides, I felt fine) and not at all nice to the guy. Only recently have I come to appreciate what that man did for me.

In the US every year, 250 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t try to play the odds. Read the stories I linked above  — and then ask yourself if you can afford not to have a CO detector in your home.

What are you waiting for? You’re sitting at your keyboard right now. Click over to Amazon or someplace else and order one right now. Delivered to your door. Plug-in, battery-powered, or both. $20-$50 or thereabouts. Wall-mount or tabletop. Could anything be easier? Do it. Now. A carbon monoxide detector could be, quite literally, something you can’t live without.

4 thoughts on “Something you cannot live without

  1. Why are there so many CO-related deaths in Colorado? Does it have to do with the way houses are built in the state? I’m just wondering.

    [I lived here for five years and these are the first I’ve heard of in that time. We do have cold winters, so lots of heat running in buildings zipped up tight against cold, snow, and wind by very green, energy-conscious residents. That’s just my theory.]

  2. In response to leafless: I don’t have facts, but I think that maybe Colorado doesn’t have very tight regulations on landlords that require the detectors. Other states may be more strict. Growing up in Illinois, my parents had a CO detector installed, although I can’t say I know if it is required.

    It is worth sharing that CO can be completely eliminated by eliminating fuel-based heat. Building or buying a house that is heated completely by electricity not only eliminates CO, but can sometimes be cheaper and cleaner, depending on the source of the electricity.

    [Colorado now has legislation pending that will, as I understand it, require the detectors be installed in new homes, all apartments, and older homes being offered for sale. Similar legislation was defeated last year. Whether or not a law is passed, a detector seems like cheap insurance.

    I came across a Denver Post article that said there are some 500 (not the 250 I cited above) carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in the US every year, with 8 in Colorado last year. Perhaps the recent incidents are getting more publicity because an entire family died in Aspen.]

  3. We have one too – ya see too many stories on the news of whole families being wiped out because they didn’t have one. I’d say its a good investment, huh? Yeah. For sure.

    [Don’t know why these things aren’t as standard as smoke detectors.]

... and that's my two cents