Don't Let Carbon Monoxide Kill You

A friend of mine from college just died.  He died from a gas leak in his home.  Apparently some gas had escaped which killed him and sickened others.   He was the only one who didn’t make it.  This was a sad and needless death.

This was not an isolated incident.  I wish it were.

When I told the story about my friend’s death to an acquaintance, she relayed a story about a family who is now brain damaged from exposure to carbon monoxide in their home.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 1,500 Americans die each year from accidental exposure to CO, and there are more than 10,000 injuries each year.

This is serious stuff.

If you do one maintenance item for your home this year, have your furnace inspected.

If you buy one thing for your home, make it a carbon monoxide detector.   Hardware stores are a good place to find the detectors.

Some important tips for buying and installing a detector:

Detecting CO

  • When buying a CO detector, check for the UL approved label.
  • Digital display models show the CO level, rather than simply beeping.
  • Install CO detectors in a central area on every floor and near sleeping areas.
  • Detectors should be placed at least five feet above the ground, as CO rises.
  • Hard-wired and plug-in models won’t work during a power outage.
  • Like smoke detectors, batteries need to be replaced each year.
  • CO detectors lose sensitivity over time and should be replaced every five years.

Source: Consumer Report 2005

Here are some tips from The CDC, The Center for Disease Control:

How can I prevent CO poisoning from my home appliances?

  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters (catalytic) indoors. Although these heaters don’t have a flame, they burn gas and can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
  • If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator’s cooling unit have an expert service it. An odor from the cooling unit of your gas refrigerator can mean you have a defect in the cooling unit. It could also be giving off CO.
  • When purchasing gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as the American Gas Association or Underwriters’ Laboratories.
  • Install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.

How do I vent my gas appliances properly?

  • All gas appliances must be vented so that CO will not build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.
  • Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
  • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Horizontal vent pipes to fuel appliances should not be perfectly level. Indoor vent pipes should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors. This helps prevent CO or other gases from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.

There are more useful tips on the CDC website for times when the electricity is out, as an example.

Soon, in Washington State homes will be required to have a carbon monoxide detector, but don’t wait until then.  You could be playing with your life.

Posted on January 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm
The Beaupain Team | Category: For Homeowners, Home maintenance tips, Real Estate | Tagged , , ,

Latest Cost Effective New Products for Your Home Remodel

A big part of my job as a Realtor is to help home sellers prepare their homes for the market by giving people ways to add value to their home so they’ll get the highest sales price. I’m constantly looking for different and cost effective ways to give sellers options for updating a home. I also encourage past clients to contact me when thinking of remodeling, so I like to keep up with the latest home remodeling ideas.

The Styled, Staged, and Sold blog discusses “hot home products for 2010.” Their list of favorite new home products had great ideas for remodeling, safety, energy savings tips, and locks that can’t be bumped.

Did you know most locks on the doors to your home can be “bumped”open?

Not something you want to have happen with your home.   I first heard about locks that can’t be bumped open when a client of mine told me about changing the locks on her home.   Her  home security alarm had gone off 4 times.   She thought it was time to upgrade her home’s door locks to the bump proof variety.

Home locks that cannot be bumped

After hearing about this situation from my client and reading about unbumpable locks online, I thought I’d pass this information on.   In reading about unbumpable locks, I also learned the brand of “bump-proof” lock you buy for your home should be checked out to make sure it’s truly “bump proof.”

The blog post also talls about some other interesting home products. I really like the metal tiles that could be used as a kitchen backsplash. The tiles come in brushed nickel, bronze, and copper finishes. They looked really cool and could dress up a kitchen for not a lot of money.

The inexpensive crown moldings sounded like they could be a great way to dress up a room.

Stainless steel paint? It sounds like it could be a terrific way to go, but I’m having trouble picturing  paint looking like smooth, cool stainless steel.  I’d love to know if this really works.

Has anyone tried it?  If it does work, it would be a great thing.

Check these home products and remodeling tips out.  Let me know if you try any of the items. I’d love to be able to tell people about experiences you’ve had with these products or other cost effective remodeling ideas.

And while you are at it, change your locks!

Posted on February 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm
The Beaupain Team | Category: Architecture, For Homeowners, For Sellers, Home maintenance tips, Real Estate, Remodeling and style trends | Tagged , , , , , , , ,