Need Carbon Monoxide Advice


We may have an active carbon monoxide problem in our home.  What are possible sources of carbon monoxide in a house and how should they be vented?
sulpolitix  10-31-06 7:12pm

Carbon monoxide is the #1 cause of poisoning deaths in America and is very dangerous.  I’m not sure why you think you have an active problem but it needs to be further investigated immediately by a qualified pro.

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of fossil fueled combustion including gas, propane and oil.  In a home, the most common culprit is your heating system or water heater, but autos left running in a garage, gas powered equipment like generators or pressure washers, your range or oven, or charcoal/propane grills can also cause poisoning. 

With a properly installed and vented heating system, you have little to be concerned about.  However, if the system is faulty, a carbon monoxide problem can develop quickly.

For example, I spent 20 years in the home inspection business.  One day I recall walking the roof of a house and peering down into a chimney to find a rodent’s nest had virtually blocked it.  Later on, I confirmed that the heating system was no longer venting properly and that most of the combustion gas was being diverted into the house.  That s when the scary part of the story developed.  The homeowner was pregnant and had been attributing her sickness to the pregnancy.  In actual fact she had developed carbon monoxide poisoning which, fortunately, was quickly cured upon this discovery.

Without knowing more about your home, I can’t tell you where to look.  But, you should get this problem checked out professionally and promptly.  Call your local fire department, utility company or at least local HVAC service professional.


Also, and this should apply to everyone; get a carbon monoxide detector for EVERY level of your home!  If it goes off, believe it, get out of the house and call the fire department.  Since carbon monoxide is odorless, you’ll never know if you’re being exposed to it any other way.

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