Recently, Yeni and I completed an amazing 3200 mile round-trip “Expedition” from Ann Arbor to Fort Lauderdale. We drove through such landmarks as the Florida Everglades, the Appalachian Mountains, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and more. We experienced a range of weather and traffic — exactly what you would expect when traveling around Thanksgiving — but the scariest part, was waking up to the carbon monoxide alarm after returning home.
Like most “budget conscious” couples, Yeni and I try to save money when possible. When leaving for our extended trip, we lowered the thermostat to a brisk 65 degrees. After a very snow filled journey home, we raised the temperature up to 74, relaxed for an hour or so, and went to bed early.
Around 4am or so, I heard what I thought was the fire alarm; and not used to using natural gas in the home, I quickly got out of bed to investigate. You see, I like to avoid gas fueled explosions when possible, and assumed that the alarm would be followed by some sort of Bruce Willis / Jerry Bruckheimer fireball explosion. Well, no fire, but this alarm was so, so very loud.
When my eyes gained focus, I looked up high and noticed this wasn’t the smoke detector, but rather the Carbon Monoxide alarm. Well, we shut off the heater, got some warm clothes, tried to call 911 from the VoIP phone (and then had to use the mobile), and got out of the house. The fire department showed up and Yeni and I enjoyed the reflections of the emergency lights on the snow (I told Yeni they were her Christmas lights). We stood outside and let the fresh air remove our nausea and headaches. After 45 minutes (or so) of talking with the Fire Department, the levels had lowered enough for us to return inside.
In the morning, a furnace repairman could not find any levels of carbon monoxide. Our neighbor told us he had recently closed a vent when spraying for wasps and thinks that this action may have been the cause. Although we would have liked to have found a definite source of the carbon monoxide, it’s good to know that the alarm is loud enough to wake me from a deep sleep.