I have had this blog for 5 1/2 years and have often thought of writing this post but have never gotten around to it. Well, today is the day!
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A few years ago we got out basement refinished. It was a very sawdusty mess, so I decided to get someone out here to vacuum and clean out the furnace before we turned it on for the cold weather. I called a professional company and asked for a cleaning, but they said they only did combo cleaning/inspection. I really didn’t want to pay for an inspection again since it had been inspected only 2 years prior. But I found a coupon and a special, so he came to work on it. After an hour, he came up saying he had found a dangerous crack in the heat exchange and had turned the furnace off. He said not to turn it back on until we had replaced it. I told my husband who talked to a couple of friends of his who knew more about furnaces. They said it sounded like a scam and to get a second opionion. I asked around and found someone at my friend’s church who she said we could trust. He spent quite a while checking over every part of the furnace. Finally, at the very last place he looked he also found the crack. He said it was extremely unusual to occur in that spot and that it must have been a manufacturers defect. He fully expected to find nothing, also believing that the other company had “made up the story.” He checked into the warranty for us (but it had just passed the 10-year warranty) and then ordered a new part for us–we didn’t have to replace the whole furnace.
Before he left that day he also told us not to turn back on the furnace. He said that it was way too dangerous. He also grilled me on how many carbon monoxide detectors we had. At the time I did have one, up on the second level in the hallway. But I found out that our town requires there to be a CO detector on each level and within 10 feet of every bedroom. So, we bought 3 more. He also told a story of his mom who had spent a long day canning. She was using every stove burner and her carbon monoxide detector went off. She just walked over and unplugged it. Then as she was finishing up she felt so tired (presumably from all the work) that she started to go take a nap. At the last minute she decided to go ahead and call the fire fighters to see if there was anything to the alarm. Sure enough, there were dangerous levels of CO in the house, and if she had taken a nap, she never would have woken up.
When the furnace guy came back to install the part, he showed us how bad the crack was. He said that carbon monoxide would have flooded our whole house in only 5 minutes! I’m so thankful God protected us from that tragedy.
Not too long after, we were celebrating Thanksgiving at our house. My sister-in-law and family said they had almost died the night before. She had gone up to her room to do some things the night before and started getting so sleepy she lay down. But then she remembered that she had to give her daughter some medicine, so she forced herself up. As she went downstairs their carbon monoxide detector went off. The fire fighters found the source next to their fireplace in a spot where they keep the ashes. If they hadn’t had a CO detector, they never would have known there was a problem.
The scary thing about carbon monoxide is that it’s silent, odorless, colorless, and often causes no more symptoms (at first) than just sleepiness. It can occur in anyone’s home. There are many sources of it. So, the only way to save your family is to get carbon monoxide detectors–and enough of them for the size of your house. So, I’m begging you today to go out and get some! There is a simple kind that just plugs into the wall and uses 9-volt battery back-up. And there are fancier combination CO/smoke detectors.
One other story I’d like to share I read years ago in a magazine. I tried to find the article so I could get the facts all straight, but couldn’t. So here it is from my memory. A lady who lives near me was pregnant and found out that the baby had such a bad issue that there was no way he could survive. She had no intention of following the doctor’s recommendation of aborting the child, knowing that there was some purpose from God for this pregnancy. One night she was unable to sleep, being so sick from the pregnancy. Somehow she discovered that there were dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, so she was able to wake up her family and get to safety. She is convinced that if she weren’t pregnant, they all would have passed away that night. (The baby did die soon after birth, but she knows that he saved their lives.)
If you aren’t convinced enough to go buy some carbon monoxide detectors today, please read this story. And then let me know what you did!