Carbon Monoxide gas is a colorless, odorless, tasteless & highly toxic. Why am I telling you this? It is the silent killer and could be an issue in your home.
Got your attention now? Well good.
I want to tell a story about a great family I worked with several years ago maybe around 2004 that had two small children. The parents had not been feeling great, the kids weren’t either and had been to the doctors a few times but no one could seem to figure out the reason why they weren’t feeling well. Their symptoms would come and go. The parents were frustrated and kept scratching their heads. During all of this we had listed their home for sale, put it under contract & it was then time for the buyers inspections. During the home inspection the inspector found high readings of carbon monoxide enough where I was called immediately. I of course called the sellers after, they were shocked, but a light bulb also went off as to why their entire family wasn’t feeling 100%, I didn’t learn until this point that they hadn’t been feeling well and they relayed the story above. They had a cracked heat exchanger on their gas furnace whether that was the cause or something else I am not sure. Heating systems make up the largest percentage of deaths from CO poisoning. Even during the recent storm Sandy, carbon monoxide deaths surged because of the use of generators as noted in a USA Today article!
The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may resemble other types of poisonings and infections, including symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and a feeling of weakness. Affected families often believe they are victims of food poisoning. Infants may be irritable and feed poorly. Neurological signs include confusion, disorientation, visual disturbance, syncope and seizures. -J R Soc Med (The Royal Society of Medicine)
Many people (I was one of them) operate gas appliances (furnace, stove, gas logs etc.) without the proper equipment in their homes. A quick fix is simply a carbon monoxide detector that you can purchase at your local hardware or box store for ~$25. Here is full page of options on Amazon! In this area, code didn’t start requiring these until around 2011 (a lot depends on when the permit was pulled for construction). These work like a fire alarm, if high levels of CO are detected they emit an ear piercing, wake you up out of a sound sleep alarm! There are hard wired varieties, plug in with battery backups & wall amounted ones. Here is the photo of the style I use, pretty inconspicuous and I don’t even notice it really!
This article is a great Q&A on residential homes & additions from the NC Department of Insurance.
Here is detail on the State statue when it comes to Residential Rental Properties:
N.C. Gen Stat. § 143-138 – North Carolina State Building Code
N.C. Gen Stat. § 42-42 to 42-44 – Landlord and Tenant Articles – Residential Rental Agreements
Authorizes adoption of provisions requiring the installation of either battery-operated or electrical carbon monoxide detectors in every dwelling unit having a fossil-fuel burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage.Requires landlords to provide one operable carbon monoxide detector per rental unit per level. A landlord that installs one carbon monoxide detector per rental unit per level shall be deemed to be in compliance with standards under this subdivision covering the location and number of detectors. The landlord shall replace or repair the carbon monoxide detectors within 15 days of receipt of notification if the landlord is notified of needed replacement or repairs in writing by the tenant. The landlord shall ensure that a carbon monoxide detector is operable and in good repair at the beginning of each tenancy. Unless the landlord and the tenant have a written agreement to the contrary, the landlord shall place new batteries in a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector at the beginning of a tenancy, and the tenant shall replace the batteries as needed during the tenancy. Failure of the tenant to replace the batteries as needed shall not be considered as negligence on the part of the tenant or the landlord. This subdivision applies only to dwelling units having a fossil-fuel burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage. Provides for penalties.