You’ve probably heard time and again how important it is to have a working carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home and to check the batteries on a regular basis to ensure it continues working properly. What is carbon monoxide and why is it such a potentially dangerous gas? Here are a few things you should know about carbon monoxide and how a detector can save your life.
Where Carbon Monoxide Comes From
Carbon monoxide is most commonly
a by–product of incomplete combustion. This occurs whenever something is not
fully burned. The smoke given off by a fire is a good example of an incomplete
burn. Anything that uses fuel is a potential source of carbon monoxide and is
why fuel–burning appliances have venting and flues. Those without them, such as
generators or barbecues, are only supposed to be used outdoors.
For homeowners, the most common source of carbon monoxide is gas or oil burning appliances. Especially if your appliances are old and therefore don’t burn the gas completely (anything other than a blue flame is an incomplete burn), it produces carbon monoxide gas. Most of the gases produced by this combustion are vented through the flue from your furnace or ventilation fans near appliances. However, if something breaks or a leak occurs, carbon monoxide can start to build up.
How a Detector Saves Lives
Carbon monoxide is invisible, odorless and tasteless. On top of that, it does not effect you right away. Any level of carbon monoxide can eventually make you sick or put you at risk of death, but it takes time for it to build up in your bloodstream. As soon as you feel symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, you only have a few minutes to get to fresh air and even then, you likely need emergency medical care.
A carbon monoxide detector will sound the alarm well before you reach this point. You will not see or feel anything, but carbon monoxide levels could be high enough that your body is already starting to react and will soon get sick.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The best way to prevent
carbon monoxide poisoning in your home is with a combination of regular HVAC
maintenance (to ensure there are no exhaust leaks) and regular checks of your
CO detectors. Check the batteries monthly or better yet, get a model that plugs
into the wall. Many homeowners go so far as to place two units on each floor to
ensure they get an accurate reading.
Carbon monoxide is no joking matter – it is a very serious gas that can cause harm or even death if not properly detected. If it has been a while since you’ve had your mechanical equipment inspected, call us today to schedule service with one of our professionally trained technicians.
Home Inspection Tips for Sellers
As a home seller, it is in your best interest to have an inspector look at your home before any buyers do. It will ultimately save you money, expedite the selling process when you do get offers and give both you and potential buyers peace of mind knowing that major issues have been dealt with. This is doubly true if you are selling a home for the first time or without the aid of a realtor.
What to Look for in a Home Inspector
Home inspection generally includes all structural aspects of your home, not including asbestos, radon, lead paint, mold or pests (though many banks require a termite inspection before the sale can be completed).
So, what experience should your home inspector have? Ideally, the person you hire will have at least 5–10 years of experience in the job, and a background in structural engineering. During the inspection, your inspector will review the structure of your home, the roof, the electrical system, plumbing and other important mechanical systems and should therefore understand them fully enough to notice specific issues at a glance.
If your inspector misses things that a buyer’s inspector catches, a potential sale might be canceled or the offer from the buyer reduced. A realtor can help you further in choosing a good inspector for this process.
A Detailed Home Inspection
A good home inspection takes between 2 and 4 hours to complete and is a thorough, top to bottom overview of the house and the property on which the house stands. This includes but is not limited to:
- Modifications and General Condition
- Exterior overview
- Exterior wall coverings and siding
- Porches and foundation
- Driveways and garage
- Electrical outlets and components (including circuit breakers)
- Furnace and HVAC components
- Safety components
A good home inspection is done in a structured manner and your inspector should take you with them so you can see what he sees as he notes the problems. A good inspection will then rate the level of severity for each issue noted – including those that are legally required to be fixed and those that might drive down the offers you receive from potential buyers.
While the last thing you want to hear is that you need new brickwork laid or repairs for your roof, it’s better to know now than after a buyer has put an offer in on your house. Working with a home inspector will make your life easier in almost every way when selling a house.