Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Ask your Home Inspector about the SAFETY and use of Carbon Monoxide Detectors. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning *Light headed *Nauseous *Weak *Dull headache *Dizzy *Shortness of breath *Throwing up *Blurred vision *Passing out ***DEATH***
Sources of Carbon Monoxide In Your Home 1. Gas furnace or boiler 2. Gas water heater 3. Wood or Gas Fireplace/Stove 4. Ventless fireplace 5. Vehicle running in the garage 6. Gas oven/stove 7. Gas dryer 8. Kerosene space heaters What Is a Safe Level of Carbon Monoxide? 0 ppm (parts per million).
Any reading higher than 0 should alert you to take action by either trying to pinpoint the source and correcting it or hiring a professional Home Inspector or licensed HVAC Contractor to trouble shoot. If you have any CO levels in your home, you never know when the pressures or conditions can change that may dramatically raise those CO levels to an unsafe or even deadly situation. What carbon monoxide detectors are manufactured to do Carbon monoxide detectors that you buy from retail stores are designed to alert the occupants of carbon monoxide at 70 ppm or higher inside the home. These detectors are designed to protect healthy adults only. Most families are not aware that levels below 70 ppm can lead to the death of their newborn, young child, or grandparents. They have the misconception that because they have a CO detector that their family is protected. Per UL Standard 2034, carbon monoxide detectors must go off within 1-4 hours at 70 ppm, 10-50 minutes at 150 ppm, and 4-15 minutes at 400 ppm. There are some retail models that have a peak level button. These enable you to determine the highest level the carbon monoxide reached since the last time you reset it. At least with this option, you have a little better awareness of the CO levels in your home if you check it on a regular basis.
What are the Code Requirements?
New Construction: Carbon monoxide detectors that meet UL Standard 2034 are required just outside each sleeping room in new construction that has gas or some type of fuel appliances. They are also required in new construction any time a garage is attached to the home. Existing Homes: When work is done inside a home that requires a permit, the same rule above for new construction then applies to an existing house.
What About Exposure to Lower Levels of Carbon Monoxide?
CO detectors that you find in retail stores are not designed to alert the occupants of low level exposure. In the fine print in the package, each manufacturer has disclaimers informing the purchaser that those CO detectors are not designed to protect infants, the elderly, pregnant women, young children, or people with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease or anemia. When low levels of carbon monoxide are present, this causes the more susceptible to have trouble breathing. This adds extra stress to their cardio-vascular & respiratory systems. If the stress is too great, it can lead to death. Impact of Low Level Carbon Monoxide *Can be fatal to infants *Can be fatal to elderly *Can result in low birth weights of newborns if the mother was exposed *Impedes brain development in children *Can lead to permanent brain damage in children if subjected over long enough time.
The Carbon Monoxide Safety Association has a website www.carbon-monoxide-survivor.com that goes into great detail the short-term & long-term impacts exposure to carbon monoxide can have & treatment options. It’s truly a wealth of information! On the left navigation bar, there’s a “Poisoning Damage” link. Real Examples of Low Level CO We Have Found On Inspections 1. Glue joints on PVC exhaust lines for high-efficiency furnaces leaking flue gases to the interior 2. Cracked heat exchangers allowing CO to sneak through from the burner chamber to the supply air & be blown throughout the home. 3. A bird’s nest clogging the B-vent flue pipe from the furnace and water heater causing 100% of the flue gases to backdraft into the finished basement. 4. An inefficiently burning gas log set fireplace leaking 14 ppm of CO gas into the living room. 5. Clay-tile chimney liners that shifted with deteriorated mortar joints allowing flue gases to leech through the liner into the homes. 6. Ventless fireplaces that weren’t kept clean producing 20-30 ppm of CO gas into the room. 7. Gas dryers that had holes in the dryer vent or the dryer vent had fallen off. 8. Gas ovens that aren’t vented to the outside usually produce 5-9 ppm of CO into the kitchen, but if dirty or faulty have tested at 200-300 ppm of CO.
You need a low level CO detector in your house, it would have alert you to the danger. To reduce the risks of CO poisoning, there are carbon monoxide detectors that have higher quality sensors to detect CO gas sooner at low levels. They are not only for your home, but can be used in your car, on a boat, in a hotel room, on a plane, etc.
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