Tag Archives: carbon monoxide

SILENT – BUT, DEADLY

SILENT – BUT, DEADLY

Normally, when we write our blogs, we try to give them catchy titles and start out with a little humor. This one, however, deals with a very serious and potentially deadly problem that may exist in your home, and you may not realize it until it is too late. This potential problem is the presence of carbon monoxide (CO).

In the last two years in our area three children and an elderly husband and wife have lost their lives to this ‘silent killer’.  Carbon monoxide is an invisible, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is produced by fuel-fired appliances, generators, space heaters, and automobiles. When CO is inhaled, it replaces the oxygen in the blood, preventing oxygen from getting to our organs.  The gas can first cause flu-like symptoms, followed by disorientation, then unconsciousness, with the end result being death.

If a household appliance malfunctions, the gas could be allowed to dissipate throughout your home. Generators and space heaters can also produce CO.  For this reason, if you are using a generator that burns gas or propane, the generator should be at least 20’ from the house, and NEVER be used in the house or in the garage. You may have an all-electric home, but if you have an attached garage, you may also be at risk. Leaving a car running in the garage with the door up or down will allow the gas to seep into your home.

Potential harm to your family can be prevented with the installation of CO alarms. These alarms emit a loud, beeping pattern that goes off when CO is detected. The loud beeping doesn’t stop until the CO level has been decreased.  These alarms do not prevent or correct the problem; their purpose is only to alert you to the presence of CO.

The Residential Code of Ohio stipulates that the CO alarms be located outside the bedroom group in the home.  If there are bedrooms on every floor, then a unit should be installed on each floor outside these rooms.  Kidde, an alarm manufacturer, has in their manual to install one on each floor, regardless if there are bedrooms on the floor.  Kidde also stipulates that the unit should not be installed within 5’ of an appliance; and in the case of a water heater and/or furnace, it should be no closer than 15’. Deep cell marine batteries such as those that are used with battery back-up pumps, also produce CO, and the alarm should be located 5’ or more away from these batteries to prevent nuisance alarms.

Once an alarm has sounded, open the nearest window and/or doors, and/or leave the house immediately and call 911.  If you are unable to leave, stay by the open window.  If you leave the house, do not return for any reason.  Once the CO level has gone down, the source of the CO must be found. The first responders may be able to determine the source, but the repairs will need to be made by a plumbing and/or HVAC technician who is licensed, bonded, and insured.  They should check any fuel fired appliance in your home.  Do not turn on any appliance until it has been evaluated by a licensed technician.

Alarms for just carbon monoxide can be purchased, and there are also combination alarms for both smoke and CO. No matter which unit is purchased, it is the home owner’s responsibility to read through the entire manufacturer’s manual and follow the directions to the letter. Test the units weekly, and keep track of their age. They can be purchased on-line, at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and local hardware stores.  Some communities also give away free CO detectors to their residents.  Call your local fire department to see if such a program is available in your area.

The best way to protect your family and keep them safe is to be knowledgeable about the effects of carbon monoxide and install alarms in your home.    Your family is depending on you.

Your family also depends on you to make sure they have hot water, working toilets and faucets, a quiet garbage disposal, plus all of your other plumbing needs. You can depend on Aaron Kramer Plumbing to make sure that your plumbing is in working order.  Give us a call today at 937-898-0008

 

 

TO APPROVE OR NOT TO APPROVE – THAT IS THE QUESTION

Recently our company applied for a mechanical permit from Montgomery County Building Regulations, Division of Plumbing.  When we received the permit, there was a notice pertaining to the presence of carbon monoxide detectors in homes with
attached garages and/or the installation and/or replacement of fuel fired appliances. In this case, it was in reference to the replacement of a gas water heater.

A section of the Residential Code of Ohio which became effective on January 1, 2013, is rather ambiguous in nature pertaining to the inspection for a carbon monoxide detector when the inspector is doing an inspection of a replacement water heater. The language in the code is inferred, rather than required; however, according to Montgomery County Building Regulations they will inspect for the presence of a CO detector. The inspector would specifically be looking for them in the vicinity of the bedroom group in the home even if the work being done is in a completely separate part of the house.

There are various ways the inspector could handle this:
1. include a notice to the owner on the plan approval that the work being done will lead to a requirement for the CO detectors to be installed.
2. include a notice of non-compliance meaning that a requirement for the installation of the CO detectors is included.
3. include a notice on the certificate of approval for the work done that the approval includes a notice for the requirement for the installation of the CO detectors.

Are they going to come back to your home to inspect for the CO detectors? The answer we were given was ‘no’. But, for the safety of our customers, and in order for our customers to be in compliance with the Code, we are strongly recommending that in the absence of a CO detector, a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector be installed. This unit would take the place of an existing smoke alarm, instead of adding a second alarm. One unit we found is manufactured by ‘Kidde’, product 3P3010CU, and may purchased at Home Depot, Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers.

The decision “to approve or not to approve” is in the hands of the inspector until the language of the Code has been corrected. It is unlikely that the approval for the water heater would be denied in the absence of the CO detector. The water heater installation itself would be the determining factor in whether or not the inspection passed.

If there are any questions, you may call Montgomery County Building Regulations, Division of Plumbing for further clarification. (226-4611)