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    What you need to know about carbon monoxide safety

    Install a carbon monoxide alarm—and update your listing to inform guests.
    By Airbnb on Mar 29, 2022
    5 min read
    Updated Mar 16, 2023


    We know how seriously you take your guests’ comfort and security. While there are many important safety considerations to keep in mind while hosting, we want to highlight some practical measures you can take to help ensure carbon monoxide and fire safety.

    Carbon monoxide exposure is a common cause of fatal poisoning around the world. For example, according to the CDC, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. As Hosts, it’s important that you take steps to keep guests safe in your space. With this in mind, we strongly encourage you to:
    1. Install carbon monoxide alarms.
    2. Update your listing to indicate whether you have a carbon monoxide alarm, or don’t need one because your space doesn’t have any fuel-burning appliances or other risk factors.

    Here’s what you need to know about carbon monoxide safety, as well as how to inform guests about the measures you’ve taken to detect carbon monoxide in your space.

    What is carbon monoxide?

    Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It can be produced by common fuel-burning household appliances like furnaces, stove ranges, or water heaters, so it’s important that all Hosts understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

    High levels of carbon monoxide exposure can be fatal, and it’s impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide alarm. By installing carbon monoxide alarms in your space, guests can be alerted if carbon monoxide levels increase above a safe level.

    How to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

    With the right education and simple precautionary steps, carbon monoxide-related incidents can be prevented. You should install carbon monoxide alarms if your space features any of the following:*

    • Appliances (for example: a stove, oven, or clothes dryer) that run on any of these typical household fuels:
      • Coal
      • Wood
      • Propane
      • Gasoline
      • Natural gas
      • Kerosene
      • Oil
      • Methane
    • A wood burning fireplace
    • An attached garage
    • A generator near door openings or windows
    • Gas or charcoal grill(s) near the exterior of a window

    It’s important to note that smoke alarms do not serve as carbon monoxide alarms, and vice versa. However, dual-purpose smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are readily available. Installing a smoke alarm that also monitors carbon monoxide is simple and can save lives.

    In addition, it can be useful to create a checklist to help stay organized around safety concerns.

    Here are some steps you can follow to help prevent carbon monoxide-related incidents:

    1. Install working carbon monoxide alarms in your space. Experts such as the International Fire Chief Association and the National Fire Protection Association recommend installing one on each floor and outside every bedroom to ensure guests can hear the alarm while they’re sleeping.
    2. Test your alarms each month to ensure they’re working. Batteries need to be replaced every one, five, or ten years depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation, so check the manufacture date on the back of the alarm as well as the owner’s guide for recommendations.
    3. Make sure all appliances in your space are installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. Note that most fuel-burning appliances should be installed by professionals.
    4. Have any fuel-burning equipment—such as furnaces, stoves, dryers, and any chimneys or vents—cleaned and inspected regularly. This helps ensure they’re working properly, ventilated, and free from improper connections, cracks, rust, or stains.
    5. Be sure to fully open the damper or vent when using a fireplace or other wood or pellet-burning heating source. Don’t close it until the fire is completely out.
    6. Make sure the exhaust flues or ducts used by appliances—like water heaters, ranges, and clothes dryers—remain open and clear.
    7. Provide clear usage instructions for guests if you offer amenities like backup generators, grills, or water heaters to ensure they’re kept at a safe distance from open windows.
    8. Provide guests with phone numbers for the local fire department, police department, and nearby hospitals in case of emergencies.

    For more details on carbon monoxide safety, you can check out educational materials from the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Fire Protection Association.

    Show guests you care

    Indicating that you have carbon monoxide and smoke alarms in your listing helps assure guests that you care about their wellbeing.

    You can update these details by scrolling down to Safety devices in the Guest safety section of your listing. If your space doesn’t require a carbon monoxide alarm because it doesn’t have any fuel-burning appliances or other risk factors, there’s a box you can check to reflect this.

    Guests may also filter for listings with carbon monoxide and smoke alarms, so keeping your safety details up to date can potentially help you attract more visitors. If you don’t have smoke or carbon monoxide alarms, it will be clearly noted on your listing page and in emails to guests before their stay.

    Snow and ice safety risks for natural gas meters

    It’s important to make sure a home’s natural gas meter remains free of snow and ice. Gas equipment requires adequate airflow for safe combustion and proper venting of appliances.

    Ice and snow can damage the meter or service connections, potentially resulting in a gas leak. Here are tips from the U.S. National Fire Protection Association on how to prevent a dangerous situation:

    • Use a broom instead of a shovel to clear ice and snow from the gas meter.  

    • Don’t kick or hit the gas meter to remove ice and snow.

    • When using a snow blower, be sure to direct snow away from the gas meter.

    • Clear a path to the gas meter in case an emergency responder needs access.

    • If a meter is encased with ice and you can’t remove it, notify your natural gas company immediately.*

    You can also contact your natural gas provider to ask about a gas meter shed, which some utility companies will provide and install.

    *This list serves as a guide and is not comprehensive. Please consider all of the unique attributes of your property and consult your local laws and fire experts.

    Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.


    Mar 29, 2022
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