Saturday, June 11, 2011

Carbon Monoxide Warning

In the last post I mentioned the emergency that happened to me this past Monday night. Although it has nothing to do with stationery, design or weddings, it was a scary event and I want to take a moment and let everybody know what happened. Hopefully you can all go home and make sure this does not happen to you.

This past Monday night at 1am my carbon monoxide detector went off. It was my first night back in my home after getting married (so it was empty for two weeks) and my husband was working a night shift. As soon as I heard the alarm I got my dog, went out to the porch and called 911. The FDNY was there within 10 minutes and told me that the CO level in my home was so high that I would have been dead within one hour. In New York City people are asked to evacuate if the CO level reaches a level of 15, the CO level in my home tripped the FDNY gas meter at 300. One of the firemen told me that I would have passed out from the CO within another 15-20 minutes and would have been dead within 45 minutes after that.

We live in a condo, which we purchased a year ago. We have had no problems with anything over the past year. The fire dept. suggested we have our boiler replaced, as they deemed our boiler room the CO source. By Wednesday morning (and quite a few $$$ later) we replaced our entire hot water system. Wednesday afternoon my husband called me at work to say our CO alarms went off again. Once again, the FDNY was called, the home was ventilated and all of our gas was shut off. The plumbers came back, along with our condo super, and they did not know what the problem was. I am EXTREMELY upset because our none of the "professionals" that came to help us had a multimeter. A multimeter is a small instrument used to test the air for toxic gas/chemicals. Without the multimeter there was no way of determining where the CO was coming from, and how much was leaking. We had plumbers, utility workers and our condo superintendent looking for the problem, and not a single one of them had the correct equipment. Our super didn't even know what a multimeter was. I find that absolutely disgusting and have made a formal complaint to our management company. If somebody had come with the appropriate meter from the beginning, we would never have spent the $$ to replace the boiler, because in the end, that turned out not to be the problem.....ok, I'm ranting and getting ahead of myself. Anyway....

After four days of nonsense from the "professionals", my dad (who is in charge of several power plants in downstate NY) came to the rescue. I had been calling him daily to tell him what was going on, and after him hearing how ridiculous our contractors (and after they "fixed" the problem for a third time, and then the CO alarms went off AGAIN) my dad took a multimeter from his job, left work immediately and drove two hours straight from his job to my home.  After spending 15 minutes looking at my boiler room he discovered that the previous owners had installed the air conditioning unit backwards, literally. Our AC unit was pulling in air from the exhaust of our boiler aka it was pulling the CO from our boiler and venting it through the rest of the home.

Thank God for my dad, who I love more than words, and who I could never thank enough for everything he has ever done for me.

So, readers, please, please PLEASE make sure you have working CO detectors in your homes, your children's homes, your parents homes, neighbors, friends, loved ones etc....You can pick up either a plug in or hardwired detector at just about any store (Home Depot, Lowes, Target etc). A simple $38 investment saved my life nearly three times this week (and of course the life of my husband and Miss Juliet). Additionally, if your alarm ever does go off, replace it immediately, once CO gets into the detector it may make it less effective moving forward.

Be safe everyone!


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