I am searching for some resources for problem-solving a potential carbon monoxide

Asked September 25, 2017, 3:08 PM EDT

I am searching for some resources for problem-solving a potential carbon monoxide leak in my house and wonder if the extension service might be able to help. Twice in one week our basement CO detector has alarmed, but when the fire department arrived they were unable to detect a source. The the chimney guy finds a problem with the chimney but this doesn't explain the results the firemen were getting. Do you have any ideas for was to assess a basement for CO or VOCs that might give a false positive CO reading?


Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Hi Steve,
Some things you may want to look into are: Has your household experienced any CO poisoning symptoms, where medical help should be sought after?

Did the fire dept. check typical sources of CO:Fuel-burning appliances including oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves? Even the clothes dryer vent opening outside the house to be sure there is adequate fresh air for combustion and so gasses including CO will flow safely up and out the chimney. The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends that these items are inspected by a trained professional. So were there other appliances in your basement besides a fire chimney that should have been checked?

Look at your CO detector. Detectors from non-governmental organizations such as Consumers Union, American Gas Association, and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) can help make informed decisions. Look for a UL certification on the detector. Are the batteries new?

Qualified technician: Was the individual that came to look at your chimney a qualified technician? Typically the are looking at fuel-burning appliances and chimneys to make sure they are operating correctly and that there is nothing blocking the fumes from being vented out of the house.

Below is a webpage from EPA which may be helpful. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/sources-combustion-products-introduction-indoor-air-quali...

I hope you find this information helpful.