During the last storms my power was out for two days and on the second night my carbon monoxide detector went off. I had a rough time waking up to see what the alarm was, and when I checked the monitor it read 690ppm. (Our PRCS standard requires less than 35 ppm before the atmosphere is considered safe.) Of course I assumed the monitor was malfunctioning and took it outside to see and the reading slowly dropped down to 0.
Upon reentering the house the reading began climbing. I then realized that with my wood stove choked down for a slow burn and a 50 mph wind outside creating a vacuum on the north side of my house, carbon monoxide was being pulled in. I opened the air intake on the stove and opened the doors and windows until the level dropped and the monitor reset. As a result of this I have modified my stove so as to disallow the ultra slow burn.
I have lived in this house for 4 years and had operated the stove in that mode countless times but this was the first time all the conditions were right to create the hazard. I have cleaned and inspected the stove and chimney once a year, it has been in good working order and operating as designed so one could have assumed there would never be a problem.
I for one am very glad I had the CO detector and that it had a good battery in it while the AC was dead!