How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning this Winter

Carbon monoxide is a silent, odorless killer that continues to claim lives each year as a result of faulty natural gas appliances. In fact, carbon monoxide poisoning is the single most prevalent hazard within homes that use gas-powered appliances. And the most dangerous times are the winter months, when homes are shut up tight to keep out the cold, running gas-fueled heating systems to keep things warm and toasty. U.S. state laws vary, but as a rule of thumb it’s good to know that the bare minimum expected in most states is that the property should remain in a habitable condition. This includes the upkeep of any gas appliances.

It isn’t possible for property managers to monitor the ongoing status of gas appliances in-between inspections, so our tenants should also take some responsibility for gas safety. Tenants must never undertake any work on a gas installation themselves. They should inform us immediately if they suspect any appliance to be unsafe, and they should be informed of how to turn off the main gas supply in the event of an emergency. The gas used in home heating and appliances does not naturally have that “rotten egg” smell. It is actually an additive added to the gas so that a leak is more easily detected, allowing tenants to alert property management as soon as possible.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, and deadly. . It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. In 2010, it became state law in Oregon that landlords are prohibited from renting dwellings with a carbon monoxide source unless the dwelling contains a functioning carbon monoxide alarm. These alarms detect the gas and emit an alarm similar to a smoke detector’s warning.

Please inspect your CO detector to be sure it’s working correctly!