Take the time to check and secure gas vents

The vents on our gas hot water tank separated enough to let out carbon monoxide

Animals have natural instincts that I truly am grateful for. Our dogs, Kash and Tia and cat Angel were giving me signs I couldn’t understand.

My husband Glenn, who works out of town, was home experiencing headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and more than once almost blacked out. Again, signs we both couldn’t understand.

Then there’s me. Mother of three grown children and a stay at home wife. I began to feel off base. Nothing seemed to feel right with me, but I figured I was fighting a virus or something.

Days go by, and it seemed to come and go, come and go. My head started to hurt, all around the front and my eyeballs were sore. My appetite was shot – everything tasted different – and my body was aching.  I felt weak, and got the chills and my chest and lungs would feel tight. I thought it was from smoking, but my puffer didn’t even seem to do the trick to relieve it.

The dogs had gone into some kind of depression, and were not eating properly. Kash would sometimes let out a soft whine, but I thought it was because of his back knees. I could easily fix this. No problem, just give him his Duramax! Tia would cry too, but I thought that she was just bored and waiting to go for her run. Angel, would come into the house, and talk like crazy, almost non-stop and then she would go away for a couple of days before she came back. She would talk and talk, eat a little, and then leave or hide under something.

On the final day (approximately day 15), I was trying to do some work on my computer and I suddenly felt very ill, but I didn’t know if I could get up. I made it from the couch to the dining chair, and I had to stop and lean on it for a minute. I walked less than 10 feet to the bathroom door and the vertigo set in and I almost crashed into my glass bathtub doors. I sat on the toilet with my head between my legs, breathing in and out as much as I could.

When my breathing finally settled down, I heard an odd sound coming from behind the bathroom wall. It was a kind of soft, hiss-grind sound. Weird. I went to the boot room and opened the door to the hot water tank – a gas hot water tank.

It seems that the vents had separated enough to let out enough carbon monoxide to probably kill all of us, had I not had my hearing  senses working, because honestly none of my other senses were co-operating with my beat up body.

I turned off the gas, pushed the vents back into place as fast as I could, and opened all the doors and windows in the house, and took the animals outside. I was on the phone to medical people and of course to Fortis. Fortis was terrific in settling me down and sending out an emergency unit to check on the levels of gas that might still be confined in the house, as well as securing the vents.

What saved me and my family was always having windows and doors open during the day, as well as spending a great deal of time outside. The worst was when they were closed at night as it gave the gas a chance to rebuild. That was why it took a little longer to have the effects that we had. So much for the flu!!

The short of it all is that after a good airing of the house, we are all safe and sound, and almost back to normal. I truly don’t like the feeling of knowing that the outcome could have been much, much worse for my family. I have to deal with that, but you don’t.

It only takes a minute to check and secure your gas vents, so take the time will you!

Debi Findlay,

Hope, B.C.

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