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Annual Inspection of All Gas Fired Appliances for Safety

The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA)

Recommends Annual Inspection of All Gas Fired Appliances for Safety

You can’t smell it or see it but carbon monoxide exposure at high levels is known as the “silent killer”. 80 persons annually expire from carbon monoxide poisoning according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Healthy people would feel fatigue, sleepiness or flue like symptoms. Higher concentrations of carbon monoxide can impair vision, coordination, headaches, dizziness, confusion, chest pain and nausea. Individuals can be killed in a short time from high concentrations of carbon monoxide. The symptoms disappear after leaving a house or area where carbon monoxide is present.

Annual inspection of all gas fired appliances to ensure they are properly functioning and operable by a qualified professional inspector is recommended. Gas appliances including ovens, cooktops, ranges, wall heaters, central forced air heaters, floor furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters and barbecue grills are all potential sources of carbon monoxide (CO). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CPSC, and Gas Utility providers throughout the country all agree on the safety precautions of having an inspection. Having your gas appliances inspected annually before or during heating season is strongly advised.

The California Real Estate Inspection Association points out that gas appliance inspection should be performed after a house is tented for termites. Vent caps are often damaged from the weight of a tent and can cause improper ventilation into a house. An unknowing appliance repairman can incorrectly identify an appliance as problematic when it is just the vent cap. Birds can build a nest in a vent without a cap which can also cause restriction of proper ventilation.

Carbon monoxide detector alarms are very effective at alerting residents of potential dangers to CO exposures as they will sound an alarm at a very low level of exposure. These can be found as individual alarms or combined with a smoke detector alarm and are recommended for all homes with any gas systems.

Make sure you retain the services of a qualified inspector who is trained and experienced in home inspection and is a member of a professional association such as CREIA. Since 1976, CREIA, a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection industry and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.