They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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LiveJournal, Carbon Monoxide and Serendipity

Life Is An Odd Assortment Of Confluences

Ain't it true? There are things I could get annoyed about, but so often I find myself realizing that things worked out pretty good, all things considered. So I shan't complain.

Yesterday I blogged about attending ConFusion in Troy MI, and how I had a chance to meet canadiansuzanne, who I knew indirectly as an attendee of Clarion South who also had a story in the "Northwest Passages" anthology in 2005. With the free conference-level WiFi, I was able to call up her LJ blog on my PDA to verify that Suzanne Church was indeed the same person -- and I read a couple of recent entries. 'Cause that's what you do when you run across someone's LJ, right?

Which Brings Us To Today's (Non) Crisis

This morning at 11am my CO detector chirped once. I'm not sure I've ever heard it other than when I tested it after taking it out of the packaging. But that was years ago. You're not supposed to have them in a kitchen, because cooking vapors can gunk up the CO sensor, and we tend to run our bedroom cold, so I'd put it in the front bedroom, aka the quilting room. Anyway, I wasn't sure why it briefly sounded, once I figured out which device with an alarm it actually was. About fifteen minutes later it chirped again. This time I noticed it went off when the furnace blower was on. Oh crap.

The unit was underneath the cutting table and not easily looked at. So I unplugged it and carried it out to the dining room and plugged it in. Pressed the TEST button. Actually it said it was the WEEKLY TEST button -- guess that hadn't gotten done in years.

A few minutes later the CO detector went off. No longer warning, but a full-blown CO alarm.

Semi-Safety Mode

Turn off furnace, open some windows. I had been napping -- I am still getting over this cold and WMU celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which meant I didn't have classes on this MLK Day -- so I then got dressed. Went downstairs, checked the kitty room. Our three furry little canaries came running towards the door. Since their room is on the other side of the wall from the furnace, and they weren't all collapsed on their backs, feet up, with X's over their eyes, I figured things couldn't be so bad.

Closed the door to the disappointed kitties, opened the back door for a minute, while I did a visual inspection of the furnace. Nothing obvious. And the cap on the Y-joint in the stack from where the old water heater used to connect hadn't fallen off or anything. So I vacuumed the furnace filter, closed up everything and put in a call to the heating company's answering machine.

The Zen of CO Detectors

See, I had just this weekend -- Saturday afternoon in fact -- read canadiansuzanne's post on CO detectors and how they go bad in 3-5 years... and this one was way older than that. In fact, I was going to replace it this week anyway, after her tale of having her CO detector going off, calling 9-1-1 and having the firemen come in and tell her, after finding nothing wrong, that they go bad. (grin) So no big time panic. Though you will note that I did turn off the furnace and ventilate the place.

Off to TruValue Hardware of Allendale, where I got a nice Kidde Nighthawk unit which not only has a digital readout but does Explosive Gas monitoring, too. How can you not like something that warns you of explosive gasses? Its plug also detaches, so you could move it from out behind the cutting table and read the thing, should one to decide to install it in a quilting room, for example.

Oh, and while I was gone, the heating company called and noted that CO detectors give a lot of false alarms, especially if a car has been warming up in the garage (didn't apply in this case).

Bottom line -- the new unit has read 0 ppm of CO ever since. We're back up to warm-and-comfy, which is very nice in the middle of a fluffy snowstorm, and the house isn't on the verge of blowing up due to an accumulation of explosive gasses.

Uh, By The Way

You checked your CO detector lately? Know how old it is? How about the batteries in your smoke alarms? Just checking...

LJ and writers score another victory. Dovetails nicely with the discussions held at yesterday's panel on "The Internet as Career Tool" and how blogging isn't just about promoting your latest writing. Being Useful really counts, too. Oh, and going to SF cons? How many other activities offer Real World advice on housing safety AND prevent expensive emergency heating repair calls? Now that's real value... (grin)

Dr. Phil
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