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This US CPSC document describes a brief heating system safety warning for homeowners. The CPSC reminds owners to be sure that their heating service contractor also checks the chimney, flue, and flue vent connector as
part of annual service (or when a problem is suspected). Unsafe chimneys and flues present a carbon monoxide hazard risk which can be fatal, as well as fire risks in buildings.
We [website authors] advise that special care be
taken to inspect older buildings with large masonry flues into which gas-fired appliances have been vented, dead-end chimneys which are easily blocked by falling debris, chimneys with no caps (easily invaded by
birds or animals), single-wythe brick flues (a fire and gas leak hazard), and chimneys which have been damaged by leaks or movement. The US CPSC document follows.
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Home Heating System Should Be Checked for CO Carbon Monoxide Hazards
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 1988
Release # 88-92
Home Heating System Should Be Checked Now
[for proper venting and for CO Carbon Monoxide Hazards - DJF]
WASHINGTON - Government safety experts are urging consumers to have central heating systems inspected this fall even
though the heat may have already been turned on.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that central heating equipment be inspected annually by a
qualified heating contractor. The furnace or boiler as well as electrical and mechanical components, valves, thermostat
controls and automatic safety switches should be tested for proper operation to protect against possible overheating or
fuel leaks which may result in fire or explosion.
Although heating contractors do not routinely inspect venting systems as part of the checkup, consumers should ask the
contractor to examine the flue and chimney for possible problems. Blockages may be caused by mortar and other material
loosened from chimney walls, bird nests or debris.
Chimneys and flues should be clear at all times so exhaust gases,
including carbon monoxide (CO), are properly vented outside the home. Flues and flue connectors should be checked for
tight, secure fitting, and for signs of rust or corrosion, which could allow exhaust gases to enter the house.
CPSC cautioned homeowners to beware of carbon monoxide fumes (CO) in the home. CO is colorless, odorless, and is
sometimes called "the silent killer." People exposed to harmful levels of CO often show symptoms similar to flu-type
illnesses, including dizziness, fatigue, headaches, irregular breathing and nausea. In the most recent year for which
statistics are available, CPSC estimates that almost 60 deaths could be attributed to carbon monoxide gas emitted from
central heating equipment.
The federal agency also stressed the importance of chimney inspections where oil or solid fuel heating systems have
recently been converted to gas. After the conversion, accumulated soot and debris on the chimney may loosen and fall.
If enough debris collects inside the chimney, it could block the chimney and cause a buildup of dangerous levels of
carbon monoxide in the home. If the fall checkup of the heating system shows an accumulation of soot in the chimney, a
chimney sweep should be called to clean the chimney and flue; annual chimney inspections should be made until no more
soot is found.
CPSC said homeowners planing on converting to gas heat should have the chimney inspected when the conversion is made,
then annually thereafter.
Dangerous Product Reports to the US CPSC: To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at SaferProducts.gov.
Continue reading at CO DETECTION OPTIONS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
Or see HEAT EXCHANGER LEAKS
Suggested citation for this web page
CARBON MONOXIDE WARNING at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.
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- AIR FILTERING STRATEGIES
- AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
- BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT
- BALANCED VENTILATION, HEAT COST SAVINGS
- BIOLOGICAL POLLUTANTS
- BLUE vs YELLOW COMBUSTION FLAMES
- CARBON DIOXIDE - CO2
- CARBON MONOXIDE - CO
- CARBON MONOXIDE WARNING
- CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY
- CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
- CHINESE DRYWALL HAZARDS
- CHIMNEY FIRE ACTION / PREVENTION
- COAL STOVE OPERATION & SAFETY
- COMBUSTION AIR
- COMBUSTION AIR for TIGHT BUILDINGS
- COMBUSTION APPLIANCE CONTAMINANTS
- COMBUSTION GASES & PARTICLE HAZARDS
- COMBUSTION PRODUCTS & IAQ
- CONCENTRATIONS of GASES in AIR
- CONVERT PPM to % CONCENTRATION
- DEFECTS LIST - HEAT SPACE & FIREPLACE, GAS
- DRAFT HOOD, GAS HEATER
- DRAFT MEASUREMENT, CHIMNEYS & FLUES
- DRAFT REGULATOR, DAMPER, BOOSTER
- EMERGENCY RESPONSE, IAQ, GAS, MOLD
- FLAME COLOR, BLUE vs YELLOW COMBUSTION
- FORENSIC INVESTIGATION of BUILDINGS
- FORMALDEHYDE HAZARDS
- FORMALDEHYDE GAS HAZARD REDUCTION
- FURNACES & IAQ
- GAS CONCENTRATIONS in AIR
- GAS DETECTION INSTRUMENTS - home
- GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
- GAS EXPOSURE LIMITS & STANDARDS
- GAS EXPOSURE SCREENING TEST
- GAS FIRED HEATING BOILER PROBLEMS
- GAS FIRED WATER HEATERS
- GAS FLAME & NOISE DEFECTS
- GAS IGNITER DEFECTS & REPAIRS
- GAS LEAK DETECTION, LP / NG
- GAS LP & NATURAL GAS SAFETY HAZARDS
- GAS PRESSURES LP vs NATURAL GAS
- GAS PIPING, VALVES, CONTROLS
- GAS REGULATORS for APPLIANCES
- GAS REGULATORS for LP TANKS
- GAS REGLATORS, TWO STAGE
- GAS SAFETY HAZARDS
- GAS SHUTOFF VALVES
- HEAT EXCHANGER LEAK TEST
- HUMIDITY CONTROL & TARGETS INDOORS
- HYDROGEN SULFIDE GAS
- INDOOR AIR HAZARDS TABLE
- INDOOR AIR QUALITY & HOUSE TIGHTNESS
- INDOOR COMBUSTION PRODUCTS & IAQ
- LP / PROPANE GAS TANKS
- METHANE GAS HAZARDS
- METHANE GAS SOURCES
- MVOCs & MOLDY MUSTY ODORS
- NATURAL GAS COMBUSTION PRODUCTS
- ODORS FROM HEATING SYSTEMS
- OIL BURNER SOOT & PUFFBACKS
- ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE - home
- ODORS IN WATER
- OXYGEN - O2
- OZONE HAZARDS
- PARTICLES in INDOOR AIR, CHART
- PLASTIC ODORS-SCREENS, SIDING
- PROPANE or LP GAS EXPOSURE
- RADON HAZARD TESTS & MITIGATION
- SAFETY RECALLS CHIMNEYS VENTS HEATERS
- SEWER GAS ODORS
- SMOKE DETECTOR TEST MSDS [PDF]
- SMOKE PENCIL / SMOKE GUN SOURCES
- SPILL SWITCH, FLUE GAS DETECTOR
- SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
- UREA FORMALDEHYDE FOAM INSULATION, UFFI
- VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
- VOCs VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
- WOOD STOVE OPERATION & SAFETY
- FAQs below discusses field reports of problems & solutions for this topic
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Technical Reviewers & References
Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman
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- Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides:
- Commercial Building Inspection Courses - protocol ASTM Standard E 2018-08 for Property Condition Assessments
- Home Inspection Education Courses including home study & live classes at eleven colleges & universities.
- Home Inspection Education Home Study Courses - ASHI@Home Training 10-course program.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
- The Home Reference Book, a reference & inspection report product for building owners & inspectors.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
- The Home Reference eBook, an electronic version for PCs, the iPad, iPhone, & Android smart phones.
Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter inspectaehrb in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
- The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors.
Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
- The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones.
- Eric Galow, Galow Homes, Lagrangeville, NY. Mr. Galow can be reached by email: email@example.com or by telephone: 914-474-6613. Mr. Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions.
- Mark Cramer Inspection Services Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, Mr. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. Contact Mark Cramer at: 727-595-4211 mark@BestTampaInspector.com 11/06
- Roger Hankey is principal of Hankey and Brown home inspectors, Eden Prairie, MN. Mr. Hankey is a past chairman of the ASHI Standards Committee. Mr. Hankey has served in other ASHI professional and leadership roles. Contact Roger Hankey at: 952 829-0044 - firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Hankey is a frequent contributor to InspectAPedia.com.
- Arlene Puentes, an ASHI member and a licensed home inspector in Kingston, NY, and has served on ASHI national committees as well as HVASHI Chapter President. Ms. Puentes can be contacted at email@example.com
- Wikipedia provided background information about some topics discussed at this website provided this citation is also found in the same article along with a " retrieved on" date. NOTE: because Wikipedia entries are fluid and can be amended in real time, we cite the retrieval date of Wikipedia citations and we do not assert that the information found there is necessarily authoritative.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
- The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
- This article text is in public domain. Website design © 2010 - 1988 Copyright InspectAPedia.com All Rights Reserved - InspectAPedia® is a Registered U.S. Trademark
- Jennifer Moore, Sales Administrator, Nextteq, LLC, Tampa FL, www.nextteq.com 813-249-5888. Nextteq is the master Distributor for Gastec in the United States. According to the company's website, Gastec Gas Sampling Pumps are the industry’s first and only pumps to provide on-the-spot measurement of ambient temperature. [Private email, JM to DF 5/23/08]
- "Choosing and Using a Carbon Monoxide CO Monitor," Dan Friedman, The ASHI Technical Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1, July1991
- "Heat Exchanger Testing, Who's Right?" Dan Friedman, The ASHI Technical Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1, July1991
- "Case History: LP Gas Leak - Using the TIF 8800", Dan Friedman, The ASHI Technical Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1, July1991
- "Table Z-1 Limits for Air Contaminants, 1910.1000 Table Z-1" OSHA standard for air contaminant limits (http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9992) - includes for CO2, Carbon dioxide.........| CAS No. 124-38-9 | 5000 ppm | 9000 mg/m3 limits for carbon dioxide as an air contaminant.
- Sampling for gases in air such as VOC's, MVOC's, toxic chemicals, and combustion products.
Unfortunately no single test or tool can detect all possible building contaminants. We use methods and equipment which can test for common contaminants. If the identity of a specific contaminant is known in advance we can also test for a very large number of specific contaminant gases in buildings.
We use gas sampling equipment provided by the two most reliable companies in the world, Draeger-Safety's detector-tubes and Drager accuro� bellows pump, the Gastec� cylinder pump and detector-tube system produced by Gastec or Sensidyne, and we also use Sensidyne's Gilian air pump. For broad screening for combustibles and a number of other
toxic gases and for leak tracing we also use Amprobe's Tif8850. All of these instruments, their applications, and sensitivities (minimum detectable limits) for specific
gases are described in our Gas Sampling Plan online document.
- Air Pollution Toxicology: APTI Course SI:300, Introduction to Air Pollution Toxicology, US EPA Air Pollution Training Institute, Environmental Research Center, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, Sept. 1993, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://yosemite.epa.gov/
- CCSP, 2008: Analyses of the effects of global change on human health and welfare and human systems. A Report by the U.S.
Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. [Gamble, J.L. (ed.), K.L. Ebi, F.G. Sussman,
T.J. Wilbanks, (Authors)]. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA. Web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://nepis.epa.gov/
- Gas Exposure Hazard Levels: for Toxic Gas Exposure to Ammonia, Arsine, Arsenic, Bromine, Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Hydride, Ozone - allowable exposure levels and hazard levels
- Carbon Dioxide Gas Toxicity hazard level, poisoning symptoms, & testing
- Health Effects of Carbon Dioxide - see "National Advisory Committee for Acute Exposure Guideline Levels (AEGLs) for Hazardous Substances; Proposed AEGL Values, Federal Register Document", http://www.epa.gov/EPA-TOX/2002/February/Day-15/t3774.htm note that these are proposed guidelines
- Carbon Dioxide CO2: Geologic Sequestration Health Effects: "Vulnerability Evaluation Framework
for Geologic Sequestration of Carbon
Dioxide", US EPA, EPA430-R-08-009, July 2008, web search August 2010,original source: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads/VEF-Technical_Document_072408.pdf
- Carbon Dioxide CO2: Geologic Sequestration, U.S EPA, web search 08/28/2010, original source:
- GTSP, 2006: Carbon Dioxide Capture and Geologic Storage: A Core Element of a A Global
Energy Technology Strategy to Address Climate Change (PDF, 37 pp., 6.05 MB, About PDF).
April 2006, JJ Dooley et al. Global Energy Technology Strategy Program (GSTP)
- IPCC, 2005: Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, Special Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Metz, Bert, Davidson, Ogunlade,
de Coninck, Heleen, Loos, Manuela, and Meyer, Leo (Eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, The
Edinburgh Building Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 2RU England
- Carbon Monoxide Gas Toxicity hazard levels, poisoning symptoms, & testing
- Fluorine, Its Compounds, and Air Pollution,: a Bibliography with Abstracts, US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711, December 1976. Web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://nepis.epa.gov.
NOTE: because the EPA's original source of this document in PDF format is damaged we have created a text image file, converted to a new PDF for readability.
- Formaldehyde: US EPA. UFFI (Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation) was previously considered a hazard (formaldehyde outgassing). Subsequent research virtually closed concern regarding this material; however formaldehyde appears to remain a health concern for sensitive individuals.
- Greenhouse Gas Overview: Carbon Dioxide: U.S. EPA, web search 08/28/2010, original source:
- Nitrogen Oxides: Air Quality Criteria for Oxides of Nitrogen, Vol III of III, US EPA, EPA600/8-91/049cF, August 1993, web search 08/28/2010, original source: http://nepis.epa.gov [Large PDF 25MB]
Key chapters in this document evaluate the latest scientific data on (a) health effects of NOx measured ill laboratory animals and exposed human populatIOns and (b) effects of NOx on agricultural crops, forests, and ecosystems, as well as (c) NOx effects on visibility and nonbiological materials. Other chapters describe the nature, sources, distribution, measurement, and concentratiOns of NOx m the environment These chapters were prepared and peer revived by experts from various state and Federal government offices, academia, and private industry for use by EPA to support decision makIng regarding potentIal risks to public health and the enVIronment Although the document IS not intended to be an exhaustIve literature reVIew, It IS intended to cover all the pertinent literature through early 1993
- Ozone Warnings - Use of Ozone as a "mold" remedy is ineffective and may be dangerous.
- Sulfur dioxide & other Oxides: Air Quality Criteria for Particulate Matter and Sulfur Oxides, Vol. III, US EPA, Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office, Research Triangle Park NC 27711, Dec. 1982, EPA-600/8/2-029c. Web search 08/26/2010, original source: http://nepis.epa.gov [large PDF]
- Chimneys, Flues, Woodstoves & Fireplaces: Safety Concerns, safe and proper venting of combustion gases, carbon monoxide hazards
- Dräger MSDS for Dräger CH25301 Air Current Tubes, Page 1 of 2.
Dräger MSDS for Dräger CH25301 Air Current Tubes , Page 2 of 2.
Watch out: the Dräger air current tube or "smoke tube" # CH16631 produces a sulfuric acid gas sulfuric acid H2SO4 /SO3 that is dangerous to life and is highly corrosive. Take a look at our copy of the Dräger MSDS for their CH25301 Air Current Tubes. We stored this MSDS in the box with the rubber bulb and tube cutter provided by Dräger. These air current monitoring tubes are provided with rubber caps so that the tube can be "stopped" or shut down when not in use. But the sulfuric acid was so corrosive that it not only caused the rubbger caps to disintegrate, it actually "burned" or oxidized our copy of the MSDS paper form!
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
- The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., Toronto, Ontario, 2010, $69.00 U.S., is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. InspectAPedia.com ® author/editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
- Carbon Monoxide Gas Toxicity, exposure limits, poisoning symptoms, and inspecting buildings for CO hazards
- DUST, HVAC CONTAMINATION STUDY An Investigation of Indoor Dust Debris Blamed on a Heating/Cooling System Reveals Carpet Dust
- Fuel Oil & Oil Heating Magazine, 3621 Hill Rd., Parsippany, NJ 07054, 973-331-9545
- Goodman Furnace High Temperature Plastic Vent HTPV safety recall US CPSC notice
- Home Heating System Should Be Checked[for proper venting and for CO Carbon Monoxide Hazards - DJF]
- Inspection Procedures for Oil-Fired Heating Systems Detailed step by step approaches for inspecting complex systems]
- Lennox Pulse Furnace Safety Inspection/Warranty Program: Carbon Monoxide Warning
- Oil Tanks - The Oil Storage Tank Information Website: Buried or Above Ground Oil Tank Inspection, Testing, Cleanup, Abandonment of Oil Tanks
- Oil Tanks Above Ground, UL Standards, guidance for home owners, buyers, and inspectors
- Plastic Heating Vent Pipe & Other Heating Safety Recall Notices
- Weil McLain Model GV Gas Boiler/gas valve CPSC recall/repair
- Domestic and Commercial Oil Burners, Charles H. Burkhardt, McGraw Hill Book Company, New York 3rd Ed 1969.
- National Fuel Gas Code (Z223.1) $16.00 and National Fuel Gas Code Handbook (Z223.2) $47.00 American Gas Association (A.G.A.), 1515 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209 also available from National Fire Protection Association, Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02269. Fundamentals of Gas Appliance Venting and Ventilation, 1985, American Gas Association Laboratories, Engineering Services Department. American Gas Association, 1515 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209. Catalog #XHO585. Reprinted 1989.
- The Steam Book, 1984, Training and Education Department, Fluid Handling Division, ITT [probably out of print, possibly available from several home inspection supply companies] Fuel Oil and Oil Heat Magazine, October 1990, offers an update,
- Principles of Steam Heating, $13.25 includes postage. Fuel oil & Oil Heat Magazine, 389 Passaic Ave., Fairfield, NJ 07004.
- The Lost Art of Steam Heating, Dan Holohan, 516-579-3046 FAX
- Principles of Steam Heating, Dan Holohan, technical editor of Fuel Oil and Oil Heat magazine, 389 Passaic Ave., Fairfield, NJ 07004 ($12.+1.25 postage/handling).
- "Residential Steam Heating Systems", Instructional Technologies Institute, Inc., 145 "D" Grassy Plain St., Bethel, CT 06801 800/227-1663 [home inspection training material] 1987
- "Residential Hydronic (circulating hot water) Heating Systems", Instructional Technologies Institute, Inc., 145 "D" Grassy Plain St., Bethel, CT 06801 800/227-1663 [home inspection training material] 1987
- "Warm Air Heating Systems". Instructional Technologies Institute, Inc., 145 "D" Grassy Plain St., Bethel, CT 06801 800/227-1663 [home inspection training material] 1987
- Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Volume I, Heating Fundamentals,
- Boilers, Boiler Conversions, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23389-4 (v. 1) Volume II, Oil, Gas, and Coal Burners, Controls, Ducts, Piping, Valves, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23390-7 (v. 2) Volume III, Radiant Heating, Water Heaters, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Heat Pumps, Air Cleaners, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23383-5 (v. 3) or ISBN 0-672-23380-0 (set) Special Sales Director, Macmillan Publishing Co., 866 Third Ave., New York, NY 10022. Macmillan Publishing Co., NY
- Installation Guide for Residential Hydronic Heating Systems
- Installation Guide #200, The Hydronics Institute, 35 Russo Place, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
- The ABC's of Retention Head Oil Burners, National Association of Oil Heat Service Managers, TM 115, National Old Timers' Association of the Energy Industry, PO Box 168, Mineola, NY 11501. (Excellent tips on spotting problems on oil-fired heating equipment. Booklet.)
- Links to our list of additional information on heating system inspection, repair, maintenance