Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas most commonly created in homes through combustion from gas-powered appliances such as furnaces, stoves and water heaters. Because carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and invisible, proper testing is required to accurately determine the levels of gas present in the air. If you suspect there could be carbon monoxide present in your home, learn more about the importance of carbon monoxide testing and how it can help keep you and your family safe.

What is Carbon Monoxide Testing?

A carbon monoxide test is performed using a portable, electric detector to determine the presence of carbon monoxide in your home and how much of the toxic gas it contains in parts per million (ppm). The detectors used by certified AmeriSpec inspectors differ from those you can buy in stores because they are much more sensitive and can be calibrated to detect even trace amounts of carbon monoxide.

Testing for carbon monoxide is relatively quick and easy with minimal disruption to your daily life. Timing depends on how many gas appliances are in your home, but you can expect the inspector to spend about 10-15 minutes per appliance to ensure an accurate reading.

After this thorough process is complete, you will be provided with a report that details any findings on the air quality in your home. Your certified inspector will work with you to interpret the results and make recommendations for next steps.

Because carbon monoxide can’t be perceived by smell, taste or sight, regular testing is essential to understanding the presence of carbon monoxide and preventing dangerous health effects. AmeriSpec recommends testing annually to ensure the levels of this toxic gas have not exceeded a safe threshold.

Why Should I Test for Carbon Monoxide?

In addition to being undetectable without proper equipment, too much carbon monoxide in the air can cause a wide range of health issues and even death. It should always be included as a regular part of the home inspection process. Some of the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Chest pains
  • Weakness

As these symptoms are so similar to common illnesses, many people don’t suspect carbon monoxide could be the culprit. This makes testing the levels in your home regularly all the more important. Indicators that you are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and not illness include:

  • Everyone in the household is experiencing the same symptoms
  • You notice an improvement in symptoms when you leave the house
  • Pets are also experiencing the same symptoms

Dealing with a carbon monoxide leak isn’t something that can wait. If you’re concerned the air quality in your home is dangerous, leave the house immediately and contact a professional to assess the situation.

Carbon Monoxide Prevention

Each year approximately 50,000 Americans visit the emergency room due to the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. Luckily, thanks to modern testing methods, carbon monoxide poisoning is very preventable. As you perform maintenance and make improvements around the home, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Install battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. While not as powerful as professional equipment, they can help alert you to dangerous levels of gas in your home.
  • When purchasing gas-powered appliances, look for certifications from national testing agencies such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
  • Always have gas-powered appliances serviced by a qualified professional.
  • Monitor the ventilation of your gas appliances regularly. Horizontal vent pipes should be angled upward slightly to reduce the potential for leakage.
  • Do not patch ventilation pipes with tape, gum or other materials. This can reduce efficiency and cause carbon monoxide buildups.
  • Do not use your gas-powered stove or oven as a heat source.
  • Keep portable gas stoves or generators outdoors at a safe distance from doors, windows and vents.

Find the Certified AmeriSpec Inspector Near You

With more than 150 locations across North America, it’s easy to find a certified AmeriSpec inspector near you to help with carbon monoxide testing and other specialty inspections. Our highly-trained team works around your schedule and will treat your home with the utmost care.

If you would like to learn more about carbon monoxide testing in your area, don’t hesitate to reach out and connect with us today.