Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Can Kill You

Posted on: November 28, 2019 by in Blog, home inspection chicago
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carbon monoxide check

Helpful information from your friends at Xcellence Inspection Services!

Have your home checked for carbon monoxide before it’s too late.

Many do not know this but carbon monoxide (CO) is considered a potential hazard. It is a poisonous gas that kills nearly 300 people in their homes each year and about 5,000 people being treated in hospitals due to poisoning. That data is in the US alone. However, that figure is believed to be underestimated since carbon monoxide has flu-like symptoms, only without the fever. This is also one of the reasons why some patients are left misdiagnosed, or worse, untreated.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that is produced by the combustion of fuels like natural gas, oil, and propane. Items such as furnaces, heaters, and stoves are designed to vent the CO outside the home. Any fuel-burning appliance is a potential source of carbon monoxide. Similarly, using charcoal indoors or operating on a gasoline-powered engine can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Appliances that are in perfect working condition may produce a little CO. However, incomplete combustion, improper installation and even blockages or cracks in the vents can cause the carbon monoxide (CO) to be trapped inside the home and accumulate to excessive levels. Exposure and inhalation of extreme levels of CO can be very fatal while the victims are unaware of being poisoned.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

The reason why some victims of poisoning are either misdiagnosed or left untreated is because the symptoms are similar to that of flu. With CO poisoning, however, the victim does not experience fever. Flu-like symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, and irregular breathing. If you feel better once you are outside the home but the symptoms reappear when you’re back inside, it’s best to consider going to the doctor immediately.

Is there something I can do?

Good question because actually, there are. But first, you need to understand what are the things you can and can’t see. During our Chicago, IL home inspection, the home inspector should look for water streaking in vents or chimney, moisture in windows, rust or stains in vents and chimneys, unfamiliar or burning odor, furnace running constantly, and even the decrease of hot water supply.

There are also things you may not be able to see. Internal appliance damage, malfunctioning components, damaged furnace heat exchanger, and hidden blockages in vents and chimneys. The manufacturer’s instructions must be carefully followed when installing appliances any alteration can compromise not just the functionality of the item but the safety of the household as well.

The first line of defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is to make sure that all fuel-burning appliances are working properly. It’s important to have a regular inspection so you know how to maintain and when to replace an item.

As a homeowner, here are some ways you can take action against potential carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Our Chicago, IL home inspectors recommend the use of carbon monoxide detectors that meet the requirements of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard 2034. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper installation.
  • Never use a gas stove to heat the home.
  • All fuel-burning appliances must be checked annually. It’s best to double-check before the start of the cold season where furnaces and heaters are used.
  • Never perform any repair or attempt to fix any issues by yourself. Always call for professional help.
  • Never use gasoline-powered generators and charcoal grills indoors.
  • Do not start a vehicle in a closed garage. Similarly, never idle the engine in the garage even if it’s open.
  • If you suspect any flu-like symptoms, leave the house and immediately seek medical attention.

Protect your home and family all year long. Call us for a home inspection in Chicago today!

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