January 1, 2013

Carbon Monoxide Detection

Carbon Monoxide Detection – Clermont County, Ohio

Effective January 1, 2013, Carbon Monoxide Alarms are required for all new residential construction and existing residential buildings for which new work is proposed when the building has an attached garage or fuel-fired appliance (water heater, furnace, fireplace, etc.).  Carbon Monoxide Alarms should be installed outside of each sleeping area and in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms per RCO Section 315.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning fatalities caused by natural gas appliances are generally rare and can be avoided. There are signs that indicate if CO is being emitted from a gas appliance.  Indicators include excessive or unexplained moisture, carbon build-up, and an obnoxious odor.  These signs should alert most individuals long before hazardous levels of CO are reached. Unexplained moisture in a building, that is usually dry during the winter heating months, should be a concern. When gas is burned cleanly it produces CO2 carbon dioxide and H20 water. That means for an average household, 200 gallons of water exits in the chimney a month. If the chimney is blocked, the water vapor produced in the combustion process cannot rise and moisture will become evident on windows and walls. The cold water pipes in the basement may also begin sweating.

Incomplete combustion is caused by a lack of O2 oxygen. To insure the proper amount of combustion air, gas appliances require 50 cubic feet of space for every cubic foot of gas or combustion air piped directly from the outside. Incomplete combustion will cause CO, carbon build-up or soot. The signs of soot are usually evident around heating supply registers. This does not always mean that incomplete combustion is coming from the heating appliance. The furnace fan may distribute the soot through the supply registers from another appliance. Water heaters are usually easy to inspect for incomplete combustion. Streaks of soot build-up will start to appear above the burner area, on the white casing of the heater. Fireplaces, wood or gas burning, will show signs of poor drafting.  When visually inspecting the inside of a furnace, flakes of carbon around the heat exchanger burner(s), or in the vestibule outside the burner area, are an indication of incomplete combustion and needed maintenance.

Common physical signs of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, and nausea (flu-like systems). The poisoning can occur in a short period of time, but it also could occur over a long period of time.  Long term exposure can cause cardiovascular disease, anemia, and sickle cell disease. Carbon Monoxide issues are usually preventable when the source is from gas appliances. The installation of gas equipment should be performed only by qualified contractor/individuals.

It is also important to secure the proper building permits for inspections of the gas equipment and code related issues. Have an annual inspection of the gas appliances performed by a qualified contractor/individual.

For questions, call the Clermont County Permit Central office at 513-732-7213. Staff is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 4:30 p.m. or visit www.permit.clermontcountyohio.gov.

Content provided by: Permit Central staff

Posted in: Permit Central