Carbon Monoxide Death at Airbnb in Mexico Leads to Suspension

Attached is the gifted article from The New York Times. We have a CO detector; I was unaware of Airbnb’s program to get one free. Whether free or purchased, I think getting a CO detector is A MUST.

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A “must”? A CO detector is important if there is a possible source of CO. Plenty of places do not use gas appliances at all, so a CO detector would be pointless.

Also, there is a lot of ignorant reporting and a lot of misconceptions about what CO is, how it is produced, and what a CO detector does. Carbon monoxide in homes is produced by gas appliances which are not combusting properly (flame should be blue, not orange or yellow). They do not detect gas leaks, nor does CO “leak”.

I have a water heater which runs on propane and a propane cooking stove. The water heater is outside- there is no way it could create a dangerous CO issue. The stove is in my kitchen, where the big double doors, as well as many windows are always open, as I live in the tropics- again no possible way there could be a build up of CO.

Adequate ventilation, even if there is some CO being produced, will keep CO from building up and presenting a danger. These people who die of CO poisoning are in hotels and condos with AC with the doors and windows closed.

So yes, if there is a possible source of carbon monoxide, a CO detector is essential. Otherwise it’s just safety theatre.


CO is also produced when idiots bring a BBQ or camp stove indoors - like maybe when there is a rainstorm (or uncomfortably cold temp) out on the patio. This can happen, of course, in a dwelling where there are no gas appliances, furnaces or fireplaces. We once discovered this in our Airbnb – back in our startup days when the guest suite was equipped with a microwave but no stovetop (a situation long since upgraded).


Me too, I had never heard of Airbnb funding CO2 detectors, and I certainly got reminders about it all the time on my listing until I installed one (that I bought myself). Since we don’t have anything heated by gas in our building, I knew it was, as @Muddy notes, “safety theatre,” but considering how prominently my listing declared that I didn’t have a CO2 monitor, I figured it was safety theatre that would generate revenue.

So I don’t know how accurate it is for the New York Times to frame this as “Airbnb offers hosts free detectors” and then quote stats about how few people actually install CO2 detectors, as if hosts are illogically turning down the generous largesse of Airbnb!

How many hosts here knew they could, supposedly, get free CO2 and smoke detectors from Airbnb?

So do you have a carbon monoxide detector since your propane stove is indoors?


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I do not remember if it was a co2 detector or smoke detector that they offered, and I requested. I never received it, still waiting since 2018 or 19



I got a combination CO/smoke detector, first aid kit and a card one could write emergency numbers on when I became a host in 2014. I didn’t have to search for the information, Airbnb was right up front with the offer. I didn’t think they were still offering them but they shouldn’t have to. It’s the kind of basic “up to code” thing that should be in every home like railing on stairs and means of egress from bedrooms.

This is the kind of thing that will lead to all “airbnbs” having to be inspected and licensed. In many places, even in the US, they aren’t.


You didn’t read the part where I said my kitchen is basically indoor/outdoor because there are so many open windows and doors? It would be like having a CO detector on a post outside next to a gas BBQ. No, I don’t do safety theatre.

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I did read that. It is not theatre imo, the possibility exist that a guest could close up windows or whatever. It is unlikely, but possible. No way would I want AirBnb to highlight that I did not have one. That in itself is a good reason to spend the $30



No, the possibility does not exist that a guest could close up windows. I homeshare, guests don’t open and close the windows in my kitchen, which are always open. You would be sweltering hot if you did that.

But I do agree that I dislike Airbnb having “CO detector” crossed out in bold, as if the host is negligent about safety.

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We have absolutely no gas appliances or sources of any kind either and I thought it clarified next to the option something to the effect that there is no gas in use on the premises, but we list on so many sites that it may not be AirBnB. But I thought they all made that clear.

If you don’t have a wood/pellet type fireplace, no garage and the city doesn’t require it then the CO detector doesn’t seem necessary unless you’re concerned about @Spark’s scenario of a guest bringing a camp stove indoors.

I did. It was widely promoted a few years ago when they offered them. I followed the link they advertised to order one and got it a couple of months later.

It’s not just about if you have a wood stove (I do) but if you have gas appliances. @HostAirbnbVRBO

Of course. I mentioned wood/pellet as well as the garage in response to @SWLinPHX 's comment:

For the few dollars in cost, it becomes an amenity that, despite your thoughts that it would be of no use, is a ‘plus’ for guests. And, it fulfills a requirement.


Our home is that same as @muddy 's. There is NO glass over the windows, only heavy wood louvered shutters that do not seal well. This is a not-uncommon design in the Caribbean when it’s fairly temperate and you have good breezes most of the time. And we have no gas-powered appliances inside and provide a large stainless-steel propane grill which no one would haul into the house.

But I bought the combination CO/smoke detectors just because they were on sale at Costco.

I have a hard time believing more than a small minority of guests even check for whether a listing has a CO detector or not. The vast majority don’t do anything but look at the price, the pictures and read some reviews before they pick a place.

You can be sure that their insurance company will check this when they sue you for millions.

It isn’t a requirement, and something that would serve no purpose isn’t a “plus” in my world.

I agree that this is excellent advice for you and me and most people in U.S. and everyone who uses oil, gas, wood or burns anything for fuel in their home or has an attached garage. [And I say this regardless of legal liability. If I can make my home safer even though I might not be required to do so, I’m still going to consider doing it.]

But @PitonView doesn’t have walls that reach the ceiling. The home is not enclosed. It’s open to the air. So I think it would be impossible for there to be a CO incident affecting humans.

But if somehow there were a CO incident I agree with you that the injured party would seek to sue, though again U.S. laws don’t apply and I have no idea how strong the laws would be there if, for example, a guest introduced some dangerous activity (think: Breaking Bad meth lab) and whether the guests’ negligence would bar recovery (I would think it would).

I’m the kind of person who would just get the CO detector rather than worry whether there is some extraordinary scenario I have not envisioned (which with 2020 hindsight will be made to sound obvious) under which I would be legally liable (or feel morally liable), but that’s me.

It seems to me that the idea of “safety theater” is in play here. After seeing more than one story of vacationers in temperate climate dying of CO poisoning, if even a few guests are looking for it, it could be worth it to get detectors.

Let’s face it, we are in the “appearances” business. Whether it’s a view, or fixtures and appliances that look new, french linens or heritage homes, some portion of guests are attracted to aspects of our listings that aren’t really changing the comfort, convenience or safety of their stay.

It’s probably just a matter of time until Airbnb requires that listings check it as being available.

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