I live in Central Kentucky. The weather in late autumn varies — one day I may have to turn on the air conditioner, and the next morning, wake up to a house that is absolutely freezing because the temperatures dropped rapidly during the night. Spring and fall are a little bit unpredictable.
The other morning, I felt really chilly. My desk is right by a window and a door, so it tends to be a cold spot on cool days. It’s been warm during the days, so my heat was not on, but I knew the temperature was dropping all afternoon. I checked my thermostat and the temperature in the house was right where I have it set it, but I went ahead and turned the heat on knowing the outside temperature was falling.
About twenty minutes later, I heard the heat kick on. Within seconds, I smelled gas. I walked over to the floor vent by my desk and felt the air blowing up and could smell the gas smell in the air. I assumed the pilot light was out in the heater, so I grabbed my candle lighter and went to go into the basement. When I opened the basement door, the smell of gas was so strong that I had to take a step back.
I ran down the stairs and checked the unit. The pilot light was lit. Now I was scared. I had a room the size of the footprint of my house smelling like gas and I had an open flame. I called Gregg (because, you know, he’s not in Afghanistan anymore and I can do things like call my husband – yay!) and he immediately called a friend from church who owns an HVAC company. He had to leave a voice mail, and while he was doing that, he looked up our gas company’s website. On the site it said:
If you smell gas in your home, immediately evacuate and call 9-1-1, then call us.
So, I called the gas company. They told me to immediately evacuate, but to leave a door unlocked for the gas company guy. They told me not to turn anything on or off, and not to even hang up the phone — just to set it on the table gently and walk away.
I will admit that I grabbed my laptop and my purse. But otherwise, I did do what she said.
Within ten minutes, the gas guy was at my house. He could not smell gas, and his meter read absolutely no natural gas in the air. When I came in behind him, I couldn’t smell anything, either. Nothing. Not even a hint.
But, what he did find, was dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. He said we were lucky this happened, or we might have discovered that there was a build up of carbon monoxide by not waking up one morning. He told us we needed to replace our entire furnace.
There was no reason for me to smell gas – ten minutes after calling the company, there was absolutely no natural gas in the air. I believe, since you can’t smell carbon monoxide, that God was warning me about the dangerous levels in a way that would get my attention. Smell gas, call the gas company, someone arrives with a meter to read the air. Attention got, message received, thank You, God.
A few hours later, our friend arrived. He thoroughly checked out our unit and could find no leaks. During the time he was there, he could get no significant carbon monoxide reading. He assured us we didn’t need to replace the unit yet.
Not that I think any of the kids would care that they get a heated home for Christmas, but you just never want to have to do something like that.
We DID go buy a carbon monoxide monitor. He recommended we get one with a digital display so that we would know exactly what the levels were that were causing the alarm to go off. We will get ones for all three floors of the house.
If you don’t do anything else after reading this, go either check the batteries on your carbon monoxide monitor or go buy one. You really have NO idea when that will be important to you.
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