A backstop for partiers.
My son and his friends like to get together at a hut in an old quarry that belongs to one of the guys. Young fellows of drinking age as they are, there is most always alcohol involved. They’re a reasonable bunch, though, so they sleep in the hut, then clean up the mess and drive home the next day.
Most of the parties are during the summer and spring when the weather is good and it is warm outside.
This weekend there’s a “glühwein” party. It is cool though not cold this weekend. Cool enough to make mulled wine a reasonable drink, but not warm enough to sleep in an unheated hut.
One of the fellows has a portable natural gas powered space heater that they’ve used before in the hut.
They’re pretty responsible kids, so they heat up the hut then turn off the heater. That’s worked well in the past.
Still, you hear about folks dying from carbon monoxide poisoning in such huts all the time. Somebody forgets to shut off the heat, or some drunk character turns it back on in the middle of the night. Then something happens and people die from carbon monoxide or the hut explodes because of a gas leak.
My son and his friends are pretty good kids, but we’re talking young people and alcohol - mistakes can and will be made.
Rather than just hope it all goes well, I decided to do something to catch problems before they get critical.
The hut doesn’t belong to me so I can’t just go and put up CO and gas alarms. You can’t leave the alarms in the hut anyway - they aren’t made to be left in cold, damp, dusty places.
Instead, I bought a CO alarm and a natural gas alarm and mounted them on a small stand. They can park it in the hut somewhere out of the way while still sober, and it’ll serve as a backstop in case someone does something stupid after drinking.
The natural gas detector says to put it low to the floor (30 cm or about 1 foot) because natural gas sinks. The carbon monoxide detector says to mount it at breathing height in rooms where you sleep. Since they all sleep on the floor of the hut, that puts the “breathing height” down by the floor as well. That’s a lucky combination - I can put both detectors on one stand, and it can be small.
Here are the parts I gathered to make the “party alarm:”
I bought the alarms at the local hardware store, and picked up the feet while I was at it. The plywood pieces look like I’ve already cut them to shape, but that’s just how I found them in my scrap box. My son made a kind of a dog house thing a couple of years ago, and that half round shape there was the cut out for the “doggy door.”
I have a tendency to use notches to assemble things. The stand is just those two pieces of scrap with notches cut so that they interlock in a cross shape.
|Notched wooden parts|
They fit together like this:
|Fitted wooden parts|
I forgot to make pictures while making the grip. I just drilled a couple of 1 inch holes with a paddle bit then used a jigsaw to cut between the holes.
With the detectors mounted and the stand glued together, it looks like this:
You can see the grip there. It is supposed to be portable, after all.
I didn’t put varnish on it. It’s too cold in the garage right now for the varnish to dry properly before the alarm goes to its first party.
Altogether that’s about 70 dollars worth of alarms, some scrap wood, and a couple of hours fiddling around in the garage.
I think that’s a fair price to pay if it ever beeps once with cause - and if it never beeps at all I’ll be just as happy.