My wife and I were in line with friends for a John Mayer concert some years back when our son called unexpectedly. He said he and his sister were feeling “a bit weird” and smelled something funny in the house.
I asked him if it smelled like rotten eggs, thinking perhaps the gas stove had been left on. No, he said, it smelled dirty and stinky but not like bad eggs.
Very worried, we called the husband of one of the ladies we were with who lived nearby. He raced over and the kids met him at the front door. He opened the window to their bedroom and then loaded the kids in the car for a night at their place.
After the concert, we opened a number of windows for fresh air and had a very restless sleep. The CO alarm we had chirped a few times but I thought it was malfunctioning. In the morning the gas company was there lickety-split and told us our furnace boiler was cracked and was spewing carbon monoxide into our home. He shut it down immediately and said the gas to the house would be shut off until we replaced the whole unit!
Needless to say we did the necessary replacement and to this day thank our lucky stars that we had talked about home safety with our son and daughter and that he was confident enough to call us that night. Teach your kids about the dangers of fire and carbon monoxide!!! You never know when it will come in handy.
PS The furnace guy said the smell was from dust and dirt blowing out of the furnace. Which makes sense because CO is colourless, odorless and tasteless! And the CO alarm was only picking up trace amounts of the gas since it was mixing with the fresh air we had coming in from all the windows we opened!