In 2009 the Colorado legislature, in response to a tragic event of a family that lost their lives on a ski vacation because of a carbon monoxide problem with a gas heater in the home they were staying in, passed a law that requires virtually all apartment units and houses currently for sale to have a carbon monoxide monitor installed within 15 feet of every bedroom entrance.
Exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) can be fatal within minutes. CO is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas released by flames in such appliances as stoves, furnaces and water heaters. It can also be found in gas and wood fireplaces and automobiles. In short, it is a deadly gas that is a silent killer.
Obviously, you want to minimize the exposure of your family and guests to this toxic gas. The only way to know if there is a problem with your gas furnace or heating unit is to install detectors throughout your home. In addition, you should follow these simple prevention steps:
- Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors.
- Do not let automobiles idle in garages (especially attached garages) even if the garage door is opened.
- Do not use a gas oven, range or clothes dryer to heat your home.
- Do not run gasoline-powered tools, generators and machinery in your home.
- Only use a kerosene heater, wood-burning stove or fireplace that is correctly vented. (Also, clean your chimney on a regular basis.)
- Have all fuel-burning appliances and venting systems in your home checked out before the winter heating season.
If you have not installed a carbon monoxide detector in your home the law requires you to install one when:
- You market your home for sale. Note: your home will not pass a pre-close inspection if it does not have carbon monoxide detectors installed.
- You rent your home and you are changing tenants.
On any carbon monoxide detector you consider purchasing, look for certification from Underwriters Laboratories. To make sure your CO monitor is most effective, follow all manufacturers’ recommendations regarding the unit’s placement, power supply and replacement guidelines. Additional information can be found at the U. S. Fire Administration and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Bottom line: protect your family and install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. In Colorado – it’s the law!