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Tip #246: Break the Habit

 Break the HabitEach winter, people get carbon monoxide poisoning from the same source — warming cars in garages.

As a frigid “Polar Vortex” sweeps across the Midwest and Northeast delivering sub-zero temperatures, more people are going to be warming up their cars before dashing off to work.

One of the most insidious characteristics of carbon monoxide poisoning is that victims have no idea they are being poisoned.

Why? Because carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas. It’s a deadly by-product of incomplete combustion in cold engines.

When cold engines first start, they run rich, which can fill a garage full of the deadly gases in just a few minutes, even with the garage door open.

If your rental unit has an attached garage, this is an especially dangerous problem, since the gases can quickly enter the residence and will remain there for many hours, poisoning any occupants.

The best thing to do is to open the garage door, start the engine and move the car out, then immediately close the door. But be mindful that exhaust still can enter into adjacent units, so don’t allow car warming in high-density complexes. This will minimize the likelihood of poisoning.

Be sure to remind your renters of this deadly problem and provide carbon monoxide detectors to avoid injury — and the liability that follows.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

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