Home Inspection/Carbon Monoxide Test

Carbon monoxide (CO) should be a concern for all homeowners. The government estimates that 300 people are killed by CO in their homes each year. CO is called a silent killer because it has no taste, color or odor. Almost all CO problems are caused by poor maintenance or improper use of fuel-burning equipment.

You can take simple precautions to protect your family by understanding CO and by properly maintaining combustion equipment in your home.

CO is produced when fuel is burned. Fuel-burning appliances, such as your furnace, are potential sources. Properly maintained appliances produce very little CO and will not cause a problem. However, improperly operating appliances, your auto, or any non-vented indoor fire can cause CO poisoning.

Proper maintenance of fuel-burning appliances is essential. This includes the furnace, water heater, gas clothes dryer, fireplace and even a gas range or space heater. All of these appliances should be used as designed, and all need periodic servicing.

Pay particular attention to furnaces and water heaters. Have them serviced regularly and routinely inspect the flue connections and chimney. Flue pipes should not have holes, rust or soft areas. Flue should not show signs of water streaking or sooting; this indicates that combustion gas is not flowing up the flue into the chimney.

Also, know the symptom of CO poisoning. Initial symptoms are similar to the flue without fever: dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headache and irregular breathing. If you have these symptoms at home and then feel better when you go outside your home, suspect a problem. If all the members of you family have similar symptoms at similar times, suspect a problem. You can also help protect your family with a CO detector.

Buy one similar to a smoke detector. It should have a loud audio alarm. Do not rely on detectors with small dots that turn black when exposed to CO - how often will you look at dots? Select a top-of-the-line alarm with a digital CO read-out so you can monitor the level in your home.

The best location for a CO detector is on a wall in your sleeping area, about 5 feet from the floor. Place it where you will see it every night before you go to bed so you will remember to check the level.

Long Island Home Inspection provides inspection services in Suffolk and Nassau Counties as well as Queens and Brooklyn.