Smoke detectors aren’t the only warning system you should have in your vacation rental home. Don't overlook the importance of carbon monoxide detectors.

The Insider's Guide to Renting Your Vacation Home

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If you rent your vacation home, the safety of your guests is a top priority. You’ve installed smoke detectors in every bedroom and routinely replace the batteries. But fire isn’t the only silent killer you need to worry about. Another danger you’ll want to take precautionary measures against is carbon monoxide.

A carbon monoxide leak in a hotel in Niles, Michigan, that resulted in one death and the hospitalization of about a dozen other people on April 1, 2017, serves as a tragic reminder off the critical importance of carbon monoxide detectors.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can cause headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, unconsciousness, and death. It is found in fumes from burning fuel, so can be produced by vehicles, furnaces, gas heaters, fireplaces, and grills, among other sources.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the US. Each year, about 15,000 people wind up in the emergency room because of it. It kills about 480 people annually.

To protect yourself, as well as your rental guests, it is important to take precautionary measures. The CDC recommends having any fuel-burning appliance professionally serviced annually, including your furnace and water heater. If you have a fireplace, a blocked chimney could cause CO to build up inside your home, so have it checked or cleaned annually.

In the event of a buildup of CO in your home, you’ll want to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recommends placing them on each floor of the home and outside of sleeping areas, such as in any hallway with adjoining bedrooms. As with your smoke detectors, you’ll want to test them and replace their batteries routinely. Also be aware of the lifespan and expiration date of your model of CO detector; a typical device should be used for no more than five years before requiring replacement.

To make sure your rental guests know what to do in the event a CO alarm goes off, you might also want to leave them a note informing them that you’ve installed these in your home and instructing them to get outside along with a number they should call if CO is detected.

Your rental guests will undoubtedly appreciate knowing that you are looking out for them, so be sure to install and maintain both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your vacation home!

Originally published on May 30, 2016. Updated on April 6, 2017.

About Jeremy Hammond

Jeremy Hammond loves the northern Michigan outdoors, and his hobbies include hiking, biking, exploring, and photography. He does technical stuff for Holiday Vacation Rentals like helping to ensure a great user experience on the website. He also writes articles for the HVR blog. View all posts by and

About Jared Hammond

Jared Hammond has over a decade of experience in the real estate industry including real estate sales, property management, and condominium association management. Hobbies include camping, hiking, home improvement projects, and making the finest maple syrup south of Canada. View all posts by and

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The Insider's Guide to Renting Your Vacation Home

FREE Rental Guide!

Learn what it takes to rent your vacation home and maximize your rental income.