Illustration depicting a sign with a Carbon Monoxide concept.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real concern and can be lethal. There are 29 states that require carbon monoxide detectors in residential buildings. As landlords and Property Managers we are accountable to a certain degree for the safety of our tenants. In order to protect tenants from this toxic and very dangerous gas we need to install CO detectors. This is particularly important in homes that use propane or natural gas for heat, cooking appliances, and hot water heaters. Every rental unit (should) have combination smoke, fire, and CO detectors installed. Proper installation and maintenance is key to the efficacy of the detectors. Placing detectors in; living rooms, hallways outside of bedrooms, and that there are at least one detector on each story of the house is highly recommended.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning maintenance and inspection is suggested. Ensuring that chimneys and fireplaces are annually inspected and maintained is key. Never use an oven, cooking stove, or barbecue to heat the home. In the event of a power outage in the winter it may be a good idea to remind tenants that it is unsafe to heat the home with those items. Don’t leave automobiles, or other gas operated equipment running in an enclosed area such as the garage. The installation of CO detectors should be used as a fail safe and precautions need to be taken.

If you experience any of the symptoms of CO poisoning; fatigue, dizziness, confusion, weakness, or headache it is important to get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows or step outside. If you suspect a gas leak it is important to not flip any light switches, open the garage door, or do anything that creates a spark. If symptoms persist go to the emergency room and alert the physician of suspected CO poisoning.