Carbon Monoxide Story

7 Replies

Hello BP thought I would share a scary landlord story with everyone and how I reacted. This just goes to show it’s an up and down business, just like any other W2 job, good days and bad days. I was literally on my way to close on another rental property when I get a call from one of my tenants. “Ben, our Carbon Monoxide detector(which I newly installed before they moved in) went off, fire department is here to secure the premises, and it’s the furnace.” My thoughts were, holy crap what am I gonna do now. I went to close on the new prop and called the gas company to have them make sure there’s no gas leak. Then after close started calling multiple heating companies (Mind you it’s 6pm and 20 degrees outside so lots of furnaces are going down) and personally went to the property to make sure everyone was ok. The heating company could not come out until the next day so the tenants, unfortunately for safety reasons, had to stay somewhere else. Next morning 730am my *** is on the phone with 4 heating companies to get the person who could come out right away and fix the problem. By noon that day the furnace was fixed and tenants were happy. I wanted to share this because of the severity of the safely issue with CO leaking in the house and my personal response for my tenants to make sure they are safe and show how much I care. (I also work a W2 job and had to leave that for about 3 hours while the furnace was being repaired.) If I can make it through this then all of us here at BP can make it through anything.

glad everyone was safe !! And you know your detectors were working!

@Ben Freiman Thank you for the story, this is really an important topic that comes up in the news every single year. A lot of people think carbon monoxide leaks only happen to "them", and your account helps reinforce that it can happen to "us". Good job getting the heat fixed asap too.

To all landlords:

A CO detector is all of $13 on Amazon:

It might not be your legal responsibility, but consider making it your personal responsibility to your tenants and your community to see that a CO detector is installed in each one your units. Doing so will potentially save the lives of your tenant and their family. I'm amazed as I tour properties with old, rigged-together heating systems that many units still do not have detectors installed despite the well-established dangers. Don't expect your tenants to do it, this is one that is cheap enough and important enough that you should do for them.

What was fixed on the furnace? I always understood carbon monoxide leaks were due to cracks in the heat exchanger? and required a furnace replacement. Thanks.

Originally posted by @Marian Smith :

What was fixed on the furnace? I always understood carbon monoxide leaks were due to cracks in the heat exchanger? and required a furnace replacement. Thanks.

 Hi Marian, yes it is usually the heat exchange (per the technician), but in this case the air intake has a bees nest lodged in it, so the furnace did not get enough air flow to expel the gas. Luckily it was an easy fix. I plan on having the same company come back in about a month to do another combustion check to make sure all is good. This is a huge safety risk and I want to be sure the furnace is operating properly. 

@Matthew Olszak You said it perfectly. It is a very cheap device to install and it will save lives. It's one thing to have a broken dishwasher, where you can fix that in a few days, but you can't underestimate CO. 

A few years ago I had a coworker who took thier family to thier second home to replace a furnace. They got there the night before and they were to replace the furnace the next day. Unfortunately she closed the door to her room and died that night of CO poisoning because the CO collected in that room. I am not overly cautious but on this one I think you have to err on the side of caution.

Wow Colleen that is so sad. I’m sorry to hear that about your friend. Goes to show how serious of an issue CO can be. Thank you for sharing.

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