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  1. #1
    JORY LANNES's Avatar
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    Default carbon monoxide tester

    In Illinois a home inspector is not required to test for carbon monoxide. I recently did an inspection and my monoxor3 gave a reading of 550ppm carbon monoxide. There was a young child in the house.My question is how many home inspectors do carbon monoxide testing?

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  2. #2
    Richard Pultar's Avatar
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    what was the culprit?


  3. #3
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    JORY: what was the cost of you tester? if I had one i would test for it.

    Best

    Ron


  4. #4
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    The problem was a bad heat exchanger and flue. The cost of the Bacharach Monoxor III was about $450. Portable CO detectors are available for $200 up. I am not aware of any organization (ASHI, NAHI, NACHI) that has CO testing as part of the SOP


  5. #5
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Generally, I don't test for CM, unless something makes me suspicious.
    I have a CM tester attachment head (along with other heads) for my Fieldpiece tester. It has come in very handy a few times.
    The Fieldpiece tester and heads have worked great for the last couple years.
    CM head is approx. $150. They have a website.

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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Jory,

    At 550 ppm you would be unconscious in about 3 hours and dead in about 4 hours. Where (what areas of the house) did you conduct the test?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    You are correct Cary. I told my client's agent to call the listing agent.She refused and I told her I cannot tell the seller but would call the fire dept. if she did not make the call. The agent did make the call and the seller moved to a motel that night. The seller had a 3 yr child in the house. It was in Palatine. A new furnace and flue was installed the next day


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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Nice work Jory!

    FYI - I don't believe there is any SoP/CoE prohibiting you from telling the seller about this condition if their life is in imminent danger. I certainly would.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Cary, The COE issue is a fine line. I have talked with three lawyers who have given me 3 different answers. The important issue I think is that CO testing should be done on every inspection.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by JORY LANNES View Post
    Cary, The COE issue is a fine line. I have talked with three lawyers who have given me 3 different answers. The important issue I think is that CO testing should be done on every inspection.
    If COE is referring to Code of Ethics, how ethicial is it to endanger a familys life, knowing the CO levels in that house would kill? Engineering Code of Ethics put Public Safety BEFORE your responsibility to client. Why is this a grey area?

    I don't post much, but this really should be a non issue. I would inform the current occupants. I would sleep much better that night.

    John


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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Agreed John, it isn't an issue. If you find D&H conditions that pose imminent risk of life to occupants, whether that be a Seller or potential buyer.
    Don't know or care what any SoP says. It's the right thing to do.
    Liability? Please, how far do you think that will fly when it becomes clear you saved their lives.
    I had a realtor and seller yell at me once 'lawsuit' because I taped a label on their furnace stated it was D&H and called people's gas. For all their jerk-off screaming, they installed a new unit the next week.
    I saw the HVAC truck outside, happened to be driving by.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by JORY LANNES View Post
    You are correct Cary. I told my client's agent to call the listing agent.She refused and I told her I cannot tell the seller but would call the fire dept. if she did not make the call. The agent did make the call and the seller moved to a motel that night. The seller had a 3 yr child in the house. It was in Palatine. A new furnace and flue was installed the next day
    Quote Originally Posted by Cary Seidner View Post
    Nice work Jory!

    FYI - I don't believe there is any SoP/CoE prohibiting you from telling the seller about this condition if their life is in imminent danger. I certainly would.

    I'm not sure about Illinois but in Texas our Rules of Professional Conduct and Ethics states the following:

    "Inspectors shall not disclose inspection results or client information without prior approval from the client. Inspectors, at their discretion, may disclose observed immediate safety hazards to occupants exposed to such hazards when feasible."

    I have and do tell the seller when I come across immedialte dangers.

    Eric


  13. #13
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Absolutely tell the home occupants of any safety concerns. I do not test for CO but I do carry a personal CO "monitor/alarm" for personal safety that is extremely sensitive . That way if it goes off I can refer to it without the implications of "testing" outside the SOP. These are fairly inexpensive, small and attach right to your clothing or tool belt.


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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    2 more points on liability
    - If it comes out that you were the last man in, and said nothing ...
    - As far as CO testing on every insp., now you are talking screwing yourself. Under what standard are you going to test? It's summer, seller has all the windows open, nice cool breeze, you test - all OK. Night time rolls around, seller closes all windows, turns unit on to take chill off, ends up dead. Hope you didn't submit that report before the morning papers hit the stand.
    Are you seriously going to close all the windows, account for all variables?

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by JORY LANNES View Post
    In Illinois a home inspector is not required to test for carbon monoxide. I recently did an inspection and my monoxor3 gave a reading of 550ppm carbon monoxide. There was a young child in the house.My question is how many home inspectors do carbon monoxide testing?
    The subject of CO testing by inspectors has been raised many times. The key issue is that inspectors should have a common protocol as to how to test. 550ppm is bad news anywhere and the resident should be advised (with an appropriate "bedside manner") regardless of whether the sample is taken at the undiluted flue gasses or in the ambient air. Since Jory is talking about it, I'm thinking it was not an ambient air reading.

    The CNY ASHI chapter brought in Rudy Leatherman from Bacharach instruments to deliver a three or four hour course that covered the fundamentals that every home inspector should know. Soon thereafter, one of their members discovered high ambient CO in a house where there was a pregnant woman. They left the house until the situation was corrected, and that inspector may have saved a baby from developmental disabilities or worse. Good job, Peter Apgar.

    Here in NY, the Building Performance Contractors Association has delivered trainings in basic building science to home inspectors. We have discussed in passing the possibility of a certification through the Building Performance Institute, a national certifying organization, in combustion safety and CO testing.

    I'm going to share this post with BPI and also with some friends at HVACR, a national training organization that does not offer certifications but that could look into ways to deliver training. For more advanced training, there is the National Comfort Institute, but their course requires a significant commitment both in terms of time and of money.

    As houses grow tighter, the significance of CO as a threat increases. It's time for home inspectors to add value to their services by being educated and certified in combustion safety.


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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    If you aren't testing for ambient CO you are playing guessing games with your life.
    Ambient CO testing is great for your protection but is useless as a diagnostic tool.

    The post by Ed makes a great point, you guys as HI's have a great opportunity to help the consuming public as not enough HVAC guys are doing the testing they need to be doing for CO.
    You guys can make a difference.

    From what I've seen in the field I would have to call the diagnosis of a cracked heat exchanger and bad flue as incorrect, that is usually the last likely cause of CO in a building.
    I would be willing to bet there is more going on there and that family is probably still in danger.
    Are the other appliances in the home and the newly installed furnace going to be tested for CO or is this another case of hand grenade diagnostics?

    There is also a national CO protocol that was written years ago if there are any questions on what procedures to follow.

    Would be nice to know where the 550 PPM reading was taken.

    If anyone is interested in details on the National Comfort Institute CO/Combustion training let me know.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Thanks, David. I'm really happy to hear from an NCI guy on this. Can we encourage combustion training for Home Inspectors?


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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Voytovich View Post
    Thanks, David. I'm really happy to hear from an NCI guy on this. Can we encourage combustion training for Home Inspectors?

    I think it should be encouraged, we even have a CO specific form designed for HI's.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    If anyone is interested in details on the National Comfort Institute CO/Combustion training let me know.
    Training is always good IF the trainers are unbiased without a product to pimp (ala the mold is gold discussions)
    David any info you have would be appreciated. Combustion analysis is way over the top for most HI but CO and combustion principles are right on the money for me.

    Jim Luttrall
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    David, Please share with us where the training and forms are available for CO


  21. #21

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    Hi Jory,

    You are my hero! I use a Snifit model 50 carbon monoxide analyzer on most jobs. I do get a kick out of buyers asking about carbon monoxide when they are buying an all electric house. People are clueless. That's why they need heroes like you.

    Steve Reilly
    Owl Inspection Services


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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by JORY LANNES View Post
    David, Please share with us where the training and forms are available for CO

    I would be glad to, you guys can check out National Comfort Institute Inc. : Performance-Based Contracting, IMHO the best training on CO available anywhere.

    Welcome to the Training Room also has some great information to help out.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Reilly View Post
    Hi Jory,

    You are my hero! I use a Snifit model 50 carbon monoxide analyzer on most jobs. I do get a kick out of buyers asking about carbon monoxide when they are buying an all electric house. People are clueless. That's why they need heroes like you.

    Steve Reilly
    Owl Inspection Services
    CO is a very possible occurrence in an all electric home.

    Their concerns should be addressed.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  24. #24
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Reilly View Post
    Hi Jory,

    You are my hero! I use a Snifit model 50 carbon monoxide analyzer on most jobs. I do get a kick out of buyers asking about carbon monoxide when they are buying an all electric house. People are clueless. That's why they need heroes like you.

    Steve Reilly
    Owl Inspection Services
    I cannot even tell you of the number of folks that ask about CO detectors in all electric homes. My answer? It couldn't hurt!


  25. #25
    Mark Northrup's Avatar
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    When you jump out of the sop box you are opening alot of unwanted doors. If you test for co2 than the question is why are you not testing for other issues that are outside of the sop. You can test but if you find you have a safety problem that the homeowner should know you should tell them. Most likley you have high co2 than the exhaust is leaking cracked heat exchanger or maybe a hole in the exhaust flue. Both a dangerous situation. I would look for a problem and call that out and because of this you checked the ppm. That way it is a safety issue not you checking things that are not in the sop.


  26. #26
    Edward Loughran's Avatar
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Could you in the know, point out some sources of CO in all-electric homes. Thanks.


  27. #27
    Ed Voytovich's Avatar
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Loughran View Post
    Could you in the know, point out some sources of CO in all-electric homes. Thanks.
    The car in the attached garage can put out as much as 22,000 ppm on start up. Air leakage between a house and the attached garage are a significant health hazard that is hard to quantify without a blower door and some pressure diagnostics.

    A low alarming CO detector (sensitive down to 10ppm) goes off long before any smoke detector, and is to my knowledge pretty much the best smoke detector one can buy.

    We were using a gas-powered pressure washer near an open window in my house when my wife called from her office to say the"smoke detector" was going off. It was my CO Experts low-alarming device, and it was reading 35ppm on the second floor of my house after the pressure washer had been running for a brief (15 minutes+/-) period of time. That's the OSHA limit for 8 hours exposure.

    Nor should we forget the Darwin Award nominees who run gas generators in their houses in a power outage.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Northrup View Post
    When you jump out of the sop box you are opening alot of unwanted doors. If you test for co2 than the question is why are you not testing for other issues that are outside of the sop. You can test but if you find you have a safety problem that the homeowner should know you should tell them. Most likley you have high co2 than the exhaust is leaking cracked heat exchanger or maybe a hole in the exhaust flue. Both a dangerous situation. I would look for a problem and call that out and because of this you checked the ppm. That way it is a safety issue not you checking things that are not in the sop.
    I hope you mean CO. Many, Many people mix the 2 up. CO2 is carbon dioxide, what we breathe out. CO is carbon monoxide, thats the bad stuff.


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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Northrup View Post
    When you jump out of the sop box you are opening alot of unwanted doors. If you test for co2 than the question is why are you not testing for other issues that are outside of the sop.

    You mean CO, I am sure.

    "If you test for co2 than the question is why are you not testing for other issues that are outside of the sop."

    Not any more than if you test ALL of the windows instead of only SOME of the windows as you SoP states.

    That (if you do something outside the SoP, then you need to do it all) is an old wife's tale ... or, in this case, an old HI's tale ... either way, it just plain is NOT TRUE.

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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Voytovich View Post
    The car in the attached garage can put out as much as 22,000 ppm on start up. Air leakage between a house and the attached garage are a significant health hazard that is hard to quantify without a blower door and some pressure diagnostics.

    A low alarming CO detector (sensitive down to 10ppm) goes off long before any smoke detector, and is to my knowledge pretty much the best smoke detector one can buy.

    We were using a gas-powered pressure washer near an open window in my house when my wife called from her office to say the"smoke detector" was going off. It was my CO Experts low-alarming device, and it was reading 35ppm on the second floor of my house after the pressure washer had been running for a brief (15 minutes+/-) period of time. That's the OSHA limit for 8 hours exposure.

    Nor should we forget the Darwin Award nominees who run gas generators in their houses in a power outage.

    You're exactly right Ed, nice post.

    Generators on the windward side of a home during power outages are known issues as well but due to the pitiful alarm levels set forth by UL on CO alarms most will never know they are being poisoned.

    Electric ovens in the self cleaning mode will also put off large amounts of CO, this is exactly why they tell you to ventilate well when you plan on placing the oven in this mode.

    BTW, cracked heat exchangers are the absolute last likely cause of CO poisoning.
    Not sure why that myth is still floating around.

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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Paul Kondzich
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    I was interested in how many HI use CO detectors as part of their standard inspection. Many great observations have been made on the subject. How many HI use a CO device for inspections?


  33. #33
    Richard Pultar's Avatar
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    "cracked heat exchangers are the absolute last likely cause of CO poisoning.
    Not sure why that myth is still floating around."
    Whats the reason for this statement?
    Is it because the smell alerts the people,I wonder where the actuarial data can be found.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    You mean CO, I am sure.

    "If you test for co2 than the question is why are you not testing for other issues that are outside of the sop."

    Not any more than if you test ALL of the windows instead of only SOME of the windows as you SoP states.

    That (if you do something outside the SoP, then you need to do it all) is an old wife's tale ... or, in this case, an old HI's tale ... either way, it just plain is NOT TRUE.

    Yes Mr. Peck I mean CO I was tired when I made the post. My Bad! Sorry.

    But A question to you is If you inspect something that is outside of a state required sop. Then is not fair to say if something else goes wrong in the house that a quick witted lawyer is going to say you should of inspected that also. I.e. if you use a Co tester on the furnace in the house and you don't use it on the gas water heater, the gas fireplace or the gas oven/range. And they have a high co level. Or Start the emergency generator that is outside of a bedroom window and check it for co emissions. Most lawyers are going to eat you alive. The reason for a sop is just simply to state what you are going to inspect and not inspect. So if you do more who is to say for safety you did not diligently check the other items of the house as well. Now I know that most of the time nothing will come of you checking extra stuff until something goes wrong with the other things you didn't check. Then comes the long arm of the High priced Lawyer to set you straight. You may win in the end but you will always have to PAY. Lawyer fees are not cheap. I recommend that everyone should talk to several and have one close by when needed. People will sue for what ever gets their goat. And that contractor will most likely say the Home Inspector should of saw this.



  35. #35
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Mr. Peck
    On the windows you are right I check all of them. But who can prove that I checked all of them!!! But If I miss one that will be the one that has a problem and I will get a complaint call saying that I did not check that certain window. I also check all the outlets and light fixtures. And if a light bulb is out I note it. That may be the one that the homeowner pulled out the bulb because it sparked. And didnít list it on the discloser list. LOL


  36. #36
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Nettnin View Post
    I hope you mean CO. Many, Many people mix the 2 up. CO2 is carbon dioxide, what we breathe out. CO is carbon monoxide, thats the bad stuff.
    thank you Lee I was tired and stated the wrong symbol. Thanks for pointing it out. Co2 is still bad stuff.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Northrup View Post
    Yes Mr. Peck I mean CO I was tired when I made the post. My Bad! Sorry.


    I.e. if you use a Co tester on the furnace in the house and you don't use it on the gas water heater, the gas fireplace or the gas oven/range. And they have a high co level. .
    Great question, Mark. That's why I mentioned having training and following a protocol. A protocol tells you what to test, where and how and in what order to test it, and what your readings mean.

    Using a CO detector or any other sophisticated instrument without training might be good theater, but it's not good inspection technique. When that lawyer that hides under our beds decides to go after you, one of his or her first questions will likely be "What are your credentials?"


    You need to have something to say other than "I looked at the manual."

    On a related note, combustion gas does not usually leak out of the heat exchanger and into the distribution air while the distribution fan is running. It's a good thing, or we'd have a lot more casualties out there.

    In order for air to move through an opening in a barrier there must be a hole, but there must also be a driving force. Air inside the heat exchanger is at a negative pressure with respect to the air in the distribution flow. The distribution fan usually pressurizes the ducts (this is how it gets the conditioned air where it's supposed to go). Also, the molecules in the hot air are further apart, so nature follows her rules and attempts to adjust the difference in pressure.

    Think of a punctured balloon or a blow-out tire. Pressure, like heat and moisture, goes from higher levels to lower ones. The combustion gases do not leak out of the heat exchanger due to temperature differential because the driving force of the pressure differential is greater.

    Cracked heat exchangers do have other negative effects on combustion safety, but leaking out when the distribution fan is running is not one of them. Sometimes you will see a home inspector put his gas leak detector into the distribution air before the distribution fan kicks in. He or she hopes to pick up some hydrocarbon that is leaking from the heat exchanger. Much more sophisticated protocols are out there.

    I urge all inspectors to become better informed about combustion safety and the physics of how buildings work. The way to counter predatory lawyers is to know more than they do, not to avoid important issues that are a lot more significant that whether one window doesn't work well.

    Last edited by Ed Voytovich; 01-07-2009 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Typo

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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Northrup View Post
    But A question to you is If you inspect something that is outside of a state required sop. Then is not fair to say if something else goes wrong in the house that a quick witted lawyer is going to say you should of inspected that also
    .

    Old wife's tales ... er ... sorry, in this case ... Old HI's tales.

    First and foremost your state's SoP mostly like says that the home inspection is a "visual" inspection.

    Right?

    Okay, now, explain, if you will, *why you take ANY TOOLS with you to do a VISUAL inspection*.

    See, you have IMMEDIATELY stepped outside the SoP by using even your flashlight, yet no one expects you to use an MRI or X-Ray machine to find stuff.

    That stuff is Old HI's tales.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Northrup View Post
    Mr. Peck
    On the windows you are right I check all of them. But who can prove that I checked all of them!!!
    Thus, by your own admission, here in public, on a public forum, that YOU EXCEED YOUR SoP ...

    ... that being the case (by your own admission) ... I want you to inspect EVERYTHING in my house, and I do mean EVERYTHING.

    I want to know the nail sizes, and how many are rusted, how many are bent over, how many have deformed heads, ... EVERYTHING.

    Like I said, that stuff (if you exceed the SoP you have to do everything) is Old HI's tales.

    Probably told to you by that man behind the curtain turning the crank and shouting into the microphone "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Pultar View Post
    "cracked heat exchangers are the absolute last likely cause of CO poisoning.
    Not sure why that myth is still floating around."
    Whats the reason for this statement?
    Is it because the smell alerts the people,I wonder where the actuarial data can be found.

    I think I'm going to start deferring all my post to Ed as he keeps nailing them.

    The myth of CO poisoning from cracked heat exchangers goes back to the days of gas power burner conversions where the heat exchanger was under a positive pressure in many cases.

    The days of welded and sealed heat exchangers left us a long time ago as furnaces since the mid 80's have been made with mechanical connections and crimped seams.
    If cracks in heat exchangers caused CO poisoning then almost every furnace made since the mid 80's would have to be condemned.
    Most will fail a hydrotest if it's performed on them.

    The statement is based on basic physics, what I've seen in the field over the past 8 years of testing and information from various other sources like NCI and Bacharach.

    Just two months ago I found a Goodman GMP furnace that had 14 cracks in the heat exchanger. 0 PPM in the ambient air
    Right next door was an atmospheric Janitrol furnace that had a heat exchanger which was perfectly intact yet I was reading 10 PPM in the ambient air.

    Which furnace was safer?

    I'll explain what was going on with both cases after some discussion.

    Great thread!

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  41. #41
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Thus, by your own admission, here in public, on a public forum, that YOU EXCEED YOUR SoP ...

    ... that being the case (by your own admission) ... I want you to inspect EVERYTHING in my house, and I do mean EVERYTHING.

    I want to know the nail sizes, and how many are rusted, how many are bent over, how many have deformed heads, ... EVERYTHING.

    Like I said, that stuff (if you exceed the SoP you have to do everything) is Old HI's tales.

    Probably told to you by that man behind the curtain turning the crank and shouting into the microphone "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."
    I have to laugh on the last comment about the man behind the curtain. My ex wife has Borderline personality disorder. BPD for short and the support group is called welcome back from OZ. Kinda creates the whole picture in my mind. Stay away from crazy.


  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    Just two months ago I found a Goodman GMP furnace that had 14 cracks in the heat exchanger. 0 PPM in the ambient air
    Right next door was an atmospheric Janitrol furnace that had a heat exchanger which was perfectly intact yet I was reading 10 PPM in the ambient air.

    Which furnace was safer?

    I'll explain what was going on with both cases after some discussion.

    Great thread!
    David, if this were a game of Jeopardy I'd say: "I'll take the 10ppm ambient for $1000, Alex."

    That's assuming somebody tests.

    The 10 ppm signals us that something is wrong and we need to jump on it right now. Once we know there is a problem, we can address it. The low-alarming CO detectors installed by an informed homeowner should pick that up, especially if the home is properly protected by one on each level.

    The Goodman with the swiss cheese heat exchanger just demonstrates that you don't know what you've got if you don't look. The only way to identify a cracked heat exchanger conclusively is by actual eyeball to heat exchanger examination. I suspect there would be indicators other than ambient CO to suggest that the Goodman needed scrutiny.

    I consider the 10ppm ambient equipment to be safer under the assumption that the inspector is equipped and trained.

    If the inspector is not equipped and trained, he or she will not have a clue.

    End of story.


  43. #43
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Voytovich View Post
    End of story.
    .

    I've notice that several here make statements and then end with that ending, as though there is nothing else to say and there are no other sides to the discussion.

    However, the truth to that would be shown with what preceded "and that's the rest of the story", as Paul Harvey would always say.

    That, obviously, then is not the "end of story".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  44. #44
    Ed Voytovich's Avatar
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    .

    "and that's the rest of the story"
    .
    What, sir, is the end of the story if a person who is called in as an expert (albeit a "generalist") overlooks through lack of training or simple fear of exceeding some arbitrary SOP a condition that may endanger the seller or the buyer of the house being inspected?

    I'd call that the "End of story." I'd call that unacceptable. And I'd give you dollars to donuts that Paul Harvey would see it that way as well.

    With all due respect for your immense contribution to this group.


  45. #45
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    I think I'm going to start deferring all my post to Ed as he keeps nailing them.

    The myth of CO poisoning from cracked heat exchangers goes back to the days of gas power burner conversions where the heat exchanger was under a positive pressure in many cases.

    The days of welded and sealed heat exchangers left us a long time ago as furnaces since the mid 80's have been made with mechanical connections and crimped seams.
    If cracks in heat exchangers caused CO poisoning then almost every furnace made since the mid 80's would have to be condemned.
    Most will fail a hydrotest if it's performed on them.

    The statement is based on basic physics, what I've seen in the field over the past 8 years of testing and information from various other sources like NCI and Bacharach.

    Just two months ago I found a Goodman GMP furnace that had 14 cracks in the heat exchanger. 0 PPM in the ambient air
    Right next door was an atmospheric Janitrol furnace that had a heat exchanger which was perfectly intact yet I was reading 10 PPM in the ambient air.

    Which furnace was safer?

    I'll explain what was going on with both cases after some discussion.

    Great thread!
    HM

    I would say neither one. They both needed a thorough serviceeveluation by an HVAC company and one needs replacement. I would say that the swiss cheese unit had some obvious signs of wear, rust and age to suggest replacement without further ado.


  46. #46
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Voytovich View Post
    What, sir, is the end of the story

    Ed,

    You put that at the end of your post, separated down to a new line, making it stand on its own merits (or fall for lack thereof) as the ending to the entire post.

    You are now trying to extract it from the end of your post and place it as the end of the previous sentence.

    Even there it is not appropriate as there are 'other ends to the story', and, as Paul Harvey would say "and that the rest of the story".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  47. #47
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    HM

    I would say neither one. They both needed a thorough serviceeveluation by an HVAC company and one needs replacement. I would say that the swiss cheese unit had some obvious signs of wear, rust and age to suggest replacement without further ado.

    You gave the obvious answer Ted.

    The 14 cracks in the heat exchanger GMP was running CO under 400 PPM in the flue but was very erratic due to the blower air interference.
    This furnace was dangerous due to the fact it was a fire hazard not because of any CO poisoning possibility.
    It was tripping the roll out switches in a matter of about 5 minutes.

    The Janitrol furnace with the heat exchanger that was intact had CO readings in the individual cells that were close to 100,000 PPM of CO would be my best guess.
    I use a TSI CA-6130 combustion analyzer that has a 10,000 PPM sensor in it that was pegged within about 5 seconds.

    One thing people never get told is that CO can dilute at a ratio of 100 to 1 from the heat exchanger cell outlets to the outlet of a draft hood while they can easily dilute 1000 to 1 when mixing with ambient air from spillage.

    When you read these cases of people having CO levels of 850 or 550 PPM of CO in their homes the equipment was operating absolutely deadly to begin with.
    Cracks in heat exchangers and disconnected flue pipes don't create these types of situations!
    They were already there!

    This is exactly why testing for ambient CO is useless as a diagnostic tool, it is for safety only.
    The appliances must be tested at the source before any dilution air affects the readings.

    Sorry for the long post but I figured there are some on this forum who would like to know this stuff.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  48. #48
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Voytovich View Post

    If the inspector is not equipped and trained, he or she will not have a clue.
    You are right again Ed, the same goes for HVAC guys and plumbers too.

    Way too many assumptions are made on this topic.

    The 10 PPM was absolutely dangerous too.
    Gas guy didn't think so and we had a little bit of a confrontation in this guys basement.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  49. #49
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors in Texas have waged such a turf war with HIs that I am reluctant to inspect anything on the HVAC equipment that is not specifically required by the TREC SOP. Anyone walking near HVAC equipment or even glancing in its general direction needs a license or registration of some sort.

    Do you understand the concept of pissing around the perimeter?

    So, if it is not absolutely required of me in the SOP, it gets referred to the perimeter pissers.

    Aaron


  50. #50
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Do you understand the concept of pissing around the perimeter?

    Aaron
    Aaron:

    They're most vulnerable when their zippers are down. Pick your battles. To quote the Karate master: "NO GIVE UP."

    Jerry: I will hereinafter not use the remark "End of story."


  51. #51
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    I remember this discussion on heat exchangers along time ago and how carbon monoxide is not a issue. I also remember part of it saying when the unit shuts off after it reached it's desired temp that the de-pressurization then can cause some spillage from the cracked exchanger. Is this true?

    Also what would be some of the negative affects of a cracked exchanger if not co.

    Thanks

    Love this forum keeps your mind thinking.....

    Mike Schulz License 393
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    www.houseinspections.com

  52. #52
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    I remember this discussion on heat exchangers along time ago and how carbon monoxide is not a issue. I also remember part of it saying when the unit shuts off after it reached it's desired temp that the de-pressurization then can cause some spillage from the cracked exchanger. Is this true?

    Also what would be some of the negative affects of a cracked exchanger if not co.

    Thanks

    Love this forum keeps your mind thinking.....
    Depressurization will affect an appliance through the entire run cycle not just after the thermostat has satisfied.

    Many times CO isn't the main thing that is spilling but CO2 which will cause displacement of O2 at the burner.
    This is when the CO production will go through the roof.

    Negative effect of a cracked heat exchanger: It's a fire hazard.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  53. #53
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    So in layman terms when there is a crack it screws with the burn of the fuel (yellow, flicker in flame) which is incomplete combustion which raises the co.
    I meant in my last post that when a unit shuts down it is more likely to spill co through the crack into the supply air then when it is running. Is my assumption correct.

    Mike Schulz License 393
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  54. #54
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    So in layman terms when there is a crack it screws with the burn of the fuel (yellow, flicker in flame) which is incomplete combustion which raises the co.
    I meant in my last post that when a unit shuts down it is more likely to spill co through the crack into the supply air then when it is running. Is my assumption correct.

    The air being blown into the crack if it's big enough will cause flame impingement due to the blower air pressurizing the heat exchanger to an extent.

    CO is always going to be present in the combustion process, that is another myth that CO is only present when there is incomplete combustion.
    Some of the numbers that scare me the most on a combustion analyzer is when I read zero PPM.

    When the unit is shut down there shouldn't be any residual CO in the heat exchanger unless there is a gas valve seat that is leaking.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  55. #55
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Having started this thread,my original question has not been answered. How many HI use a CO detector in the normal course of an inspection?

    A lot of good information about CO has been discussed. DO YOU CHECK FOR CO?


  56. #56
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    I don't. If I see something that indicates a problem I differ to the tech.

    Mike Schulz License 393
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  57. #57
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Jory,

    I have tesed for CO since I began inspecting in '03. I use a Bacharach Fyrite Pro (approx $500).

    I check the water heater flue pipe. If it is over 50 ppm I recommend another professional come in to correct it. However, I will tell a client it is not likely to go down and it is even harder to find another professional carrying such a device, so plan on a new water heater. The 50 ppm is what I learned from another veteran inspector and former ASHI member.

    On a conventional furnace I will check the exhaust ports coming out from the heat exchanger. Similarly I will flag anything over 100 ppm and recommend aonther professional. I will also mention a new furnace is probably necessary. Leave it up to another professional! You have done your job!

    On a mid-efficancy or high efficency furnace I will check the closest supply vent I can find. If I read anything over 1 ppm I am suspicious and recommend a qualified HVAC contractor get in there.

    For a water heater or conventional furnace as above I don't alarm anyone since the point of testing is at the flue pipe, and if the flue is installed correctly the exhaust is going out correctly. But I do recommend another professional.

    Many times since '03 I have found high levels of CO on water heaters and funaces. Several times my meter has been pinned over its 2000 ppm limit. In one case I found 2ppm in the supply vent from a high efficency furnace measured two floors up!

    In all cases I feel I have found this to be the type of information my client is looking for without causing unecessary alarm.

    Larry Coha


  58. #58
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Coha View Post
    Jory,

    I have tesed for CO since I began inspecting in '03. I use a Bacharach Fyrite Pro (approx $500).

    I check the water heater flue pipe. If it is over 50 ppm I recommend another professional come in to correct it. However, I will tell a client it is not likely to go down and it is even harder to find another professional carrying such a device, so plan on a new water heater. The 50 ppm is what I learned from another veteran inspector and former ASHI member.

    On a conventional furnace I will check the exhaust ports coming out from the heat exchanger. Similarly I will flag anything over 100 ppm and recommend aonther professional. I will also mention a new furnace is probably necessary. Leave it up to another professional! You have done your job!

    On a mid-efficancy or high efficency furnace I will check the closest supply vent I can find. If I read anything over 1 ppm I am suspicious and recommend a qualified HVAC contractor get in there.

    For a water heater or conventional furnace as above I don't alarm anyone since the point of testing is at the flue pipe, and if the flue is installed correctly the exhaust is going out correctly. But I do recommend another professional.

    Many times since '03 I have found high levels of CO on water heaters and funaces. Several times my meter has been pinned over its 2000 ppm limit. In one case I found 2ppm in the supply vent from a high efficency furnace measured two floors up!

    In all cases I feel I have found this to be the type of information my client is looking for without causing unecessary alarm.

    Larry Coha
    Great work on testing Larry!
    You're right about guys having the required instruments, they are the minority many times.

    A word of caution on CO readings; anything under 100 PPM and stable is acceptable.
    If you are reading numbers that are as low as 1 ppm in the flue gas but are slowly rising this is a situation that needs to be tagged for sure.
    You have unstable combustion and a time bomb waiting to go off.

    Keep up the good job, the more who test the safer people are going to be.

    If you haven't guessed, yes I test.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  59. #59
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Thank you David and Larry. Wonderful information. I am planning on buying a Fyrite this year. I am working on getting the proper training.

    My experience has been that most of the HVAC folks dont own or use proper test equipment. I have had 4 different HVAC co. "tune my furnance" for the winter. none of the 4 used a combustion or CO tester.

    Thanks again for your observations.


  60. #60
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by JORY LANNES View Post
    Thank you David and Larry. Wonderful information. I am planning on buying a Fyrite this year. I am working on getting the proper training.

    My experience has been that most of the HVAC folks dont own or use proper test equipment. I have had 4 different HVAC co. "tune my furnance" for the winter. none of the 4 used a combustion or CO tester.

    Thanks again for your observations.
    When you get your Fyrite Jory PM me and I'll walk you through the testing procedures to make sure you're furnace is safe.

    It's a great investment.

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  61. #61
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    CO testing is not a hard issue. and if it is not tested it is not proven!
    IF you are not testing for CO (Carbon Monoxide), the what does your inspection amount to? I noticed pro-active inspectors that have CO instruments (several Bacharach),(one a personal monitor)(another has a CO-Experts alarm), They should be commended. To be accurate the Instruments you use need functional sensors, but sensors have life expectancy time frames, change with age & use and also require calibration periodically. Plus several of you know and do what is it right and have taken this foward. There is Training, Certification, test instrument and calibration is availalbe, visit WWW.COSAFETY.ORG or call 1-800-394-5253

    Those that do not test, guess and since you are in business you have made a business discission. That's fine to refer, explain why or follow SOPs. Some of you don't know the difference between CO and CO2, should try to learn why both are a concern with health, safety and IAQ.
    Personnally, I would not hire or refer business to you, you would have to earn my trust and prove why you are worthy. But I would be willing to discuss your practices, choices and help you to get started testing, provide CO (and combustion) training (even if it is not with COSA)

    Thanks,
    Ken Kimball, Director of Operations - Carbon Monoxide Safety Association

    P.s. David R, you understand why. Rudy Leatherman, COAD (former Bacharach) I know personnally and have worked with for several years.

    YOU CAN REACH ME AT kenkimball@cosafety.org or 605-393-8368


  62. #62
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    "Some of you don't know the difference between CO and CO2, should try to learn why both are a concern with health, safety and IAQ."

    I think we all know the dangers of carbo monoxide and high levels carbon dioxide.

    "Personally, I would not hire or refer business to you, you would have to earn my trust and prove why you are worthy. But I would be willing to discuss your practices, choices and help you to get started testing, provide CO (and combustion) training (even if it is not with COSA) "


    Just a wee bit up on ourself ain't we?????

    Nothing wrong with that I guess, but, we are all fallible.


  63. #63
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Kimball View Post

    P.s. David R, you understand why. Rudy Leatherman, COAD (former Bacharach) I know personnally and have worked with for several years.

    YOU CAN REACH ME AT kenkimball@cosafety.org or 605-393-8368
    I just heard this about Rudy last week Ken, I was really surprised.

    About an hour after that I got an e-mail from Bill Spohn stating he had parted ways with Testo.

    It just goes to show you never know what will happen, hopefully we can cross paths at some point Ken.

    David

    Measured Performance more than just a buzzword

  64. #64
    Ken Kimball's Avatar
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    Default Re: carbon monoxide tester

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR View Post
    I just heard this about Rudy last week Ken, I was really surprised.

    About an hour after that I got an e-mail from Bill Spohn stating he had parted ways with Testo.

    David
    Bill was with Bacharach when I joined them in '97, then went to Testo and now is with TruTestTools.
    I also checked and the Bacharach Training Room is still up. Welcome to the Training Room a lot of good information on testing and instruments if interested.
    Anyone in need of guidance in testing for CO or combustion analysis can contact me as needed thru COSA The Carbon Monoxide Safety Assoc or 1-800-394-5253,
    kenkimball@cosafety.org or 605-393-8368


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