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Landlord negligence may have exposed my family to low level CO over a period of 1.5 years.

sarahm73sarahm73 Member Posts: 27
So I posted photos earlier of what now seems to be gas condensation the chimney walls in the basement.
I'm trying to figure things out in my own head before deciding if I should take action.
Ok so here's the thing... I moved into this rented house in Sept '15 with my young kids. Last week we returned home to an odd smell. I opened the basement door and saw smoke billowing up the stairs. A minute later the smoke detector of my duel alarm activated. I evacuated and called 911.
The fire dept traced the smoke to the furnace and red tagged it. They were perplexed by the CO alarm not sounding as the levels were high enough. They brought in fans to clear out the CO until the level were eliminated.
The following day the fuel comp arrive to assess. The workers told me that the chimney was completely blocked by fallen bricks and soot and that no gases could escape.
The chimney guys came to assess and said the chimney looked like it hadn't been cleaned in decade. There was no liner or cap. The cement had turned to sand.
Per the tags hanging on the furnance downstairs, it looks to have been installed in 2000. Evaluations were done regularly but as for cleaning and servicing tags? There are 5 of those from 2000-last week.
Here's the kicker, before I moved in I had mild asthma. In oct 2015 and Oct 2016, after I just started to use the oil heat for the season, I had very severe attacks leading to about 8 days hospitalization in total. In march I got up in the middle of the night and my legs went from under me. Not sure if I fainted but it's never happened before. My kids have had frequent headaches and nausea (dr was monitoring as no apparent cause).
I'm just piecing it together now but I think we were exposed to low levels of CO for a long time! I'm horrified.

Comments

  • captaincocaptainco Member Posts: 268
    Most states have rental laws that require landlords to provide a safe living environment.
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 701
    Document document document!!!! Save receipt from chim company! Get write up from FD! Photograph furnace and all tags on furnace!
  • Bob HarperBob Harper Member Posts: 732
    Contact the building dept. to see if it was inspected in 2000 when installed. All chimneys must be lined and must be suitable for the class of service. The chimney must be inspected annually along with the connector pipes and appliances. The CO alarm didn't respond because UL listed alarms are not designed to alert right away. They are designed to alert only once you've met the medical definition of CO poisoning. As Capt. CO stated most states now recognize an implied warranty of habitability, esp. with multifamily and rental units. I'll review your earlier thread but contact me to discuss.
  • sarahm73sarahm73 Member Posts: 27
    Thank you so much. I will do that!
  • CarriePalmerCarriePalmer Member Posts: 5
    Law requires installation of good detectors in single family dwellings which includes rental properties too
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 3,552
    edited August 18

    Law requires installation of good detectors in single family dwellings which includes rental properties too

    @CarriePalmer
    Which law are you referring to? Only about half of the states actually have a law.
    On of the issue of CO detection is that there is no real definition of the "good detectors" you mention. Some are really not very good but are still allowed.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,649
    Zman said:

    Law requires installation of good detectors in single family dwellings which includes rental properties too

    @CarriePalmer
    Which law are you referring to? Only about half of the states actually have a law.
    On of the issue of CO detection is that there is no real definition of the "good detectors" you mention. Some are really not very good but are still allowed.
    There's also many disagreements regarding what level is "safe".
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • NY_RobNY_Rob Member Posts: 535
    ... and without a numeric display, how will you know why it activated? IMO units without a numeric display are almost useless.

    (From Kidde)
    Carbon monoxide levels that will set off your alarm
    40 ppm of CO for 10 hrs
    50 ppm of CO for 8 hrs
    70 ppm of CO for 60 to 240 minutes
    150 ppm for 10 to 50 minutes
    400 ppm for 4 to 15 minutes

    Your CO alarm (that does not have a numeric display) activates at 2am... do you open all the windows and look for a combustion source and shut it down till morning or do you get everyone out fire drill style and call the FD?
    Without a numeric display... it could be 40ppm over 10hrs time or it could be 400ppm in the last four minutes? Big difference in response based on CO levels.
  • CanuckerCanucker Member Posts: 330
    > @NY_Rob said:
    > ... and without a numeric display, how will you know why it activated? IMO units without a numeric display are almost useless.
    >
    > (From Kidde)
    > Carbon monoxide levels that will set off your alarm
    > 40 ppm of CO for 10 hrs
    > 50 ppm of CO for 8 hrs
    > 70 ppm of CO for 60 to 240 minutes
    > 150 ppm for 10 to 50 minutes
    > 400 ppm for 4 to 15 minutes
    >
    > Your CO alarm (that does not have a numeric display) activates at 2am... do you open all the windows and look for a combustion source and shut it down till morning or do you get everyone out fire drill style and call the FD?
    > Without a numeric display... it could be 40ppm over 10hrs time or it could be 400ppm in the last four minutes? Big difference in response based on CO levels.

    Quite honestly, at any of those levels I'm looking for the problem because none of them are good for you. Unless there is a fire, I'm not calling the fire department.
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,649
    edited August 18
    Canucker said:

    > @NY_Rob said:

    > ... and without a numeric display, how will you know why it activated? IMO units without a numeric display are almost useless.

    >

    > (From Kidde)

    > Carbon monoxide levels that will set off your alarm

    > 40 ppm of CO for 10 hrs

    > 50 ppm of CO for 8 hrs

    > 70 ppm of CO for 60 to 240 minutes

    > 150 ppm for 10 to 50 minutes

    > 400 ppm for 4 to 15 minutes

    >

    > Your CO alarm (that does not have a numeric display) activates at 2am... do you open all the windows and look for a combustion source and shut it down till morning or do you get everyone out fire drill style and call the FD?

    > Without a numeric display... it could be 40ppm over 10hrs time or it could be 400ppm in the last four minutes? Big difference in response based on CO levels.



    Quite honestly, at any of those levels I'm looking for the problem because none of them are good for you. Unless there is a fire, I'm not calling the fire department.

    What levels are you looking for?
    The reason you call the FD is because you have no way of knowing if your detector is actually working properly or not, and even worse, if you wonder into an area that as extremely high CO you may not make it back out.

    12,800 ppm (1.28%) Unconsciousness after 2–3 breaths. Death in less than three minutes.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • CanuckerCanucker Member Posts: 330
    At any of those levels you're suffering co poisoning. In other words, why do I need to know the exact level? (I'm not counting the strawman level of 12800 in this argument, that's ridiculous. If you have a functioning alarm, you're warned way before that) I want to find the source and I don't believe the fire department are the best qualified people to using an analyser. At least not the ones I've met. Many of them have told me you're absolutely safe, if you're alarm doesn't go off, yet you're suffering from low level poisoning at levels that would never set off the alarm. So yes, the alarm goes off, I'm opening the windows, I don't need to know the level.
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • NY_RobNY_Rob Member Posts: 535
    edited August 18
    ^ with the alarm sounding at 40ppm CO you don't need to literally drop everything and evacuate, at 400ppm you must get out immediately.
    That's why I feel it's vital to have a numeric display on the CO detector. With a display... you can also reset and see the CO levels change letting you know if you've discontinued the source of the CO leak, without a display you don't know if the levels have changed (lower/higher/unchanged), especially if the alarm sounds again in a few min.

    These are now around $24 on Amazon I have three of them at home- and I've compared their low-level readings (under 20ppm) to my Sensorcon CO Detector readings... the $20 unit readings are very close to the Sensorcon professional/calibrated CO detector.




  • NY_RobNY_Rob Member Posts: 535
    edited August 18
    Canucker said:

    Quite honestly, at any of those levels I'm looking for the problem because none of them are good for you. Unless there is a fire, I'm not calling the fire department.

    @ 400ppm CO you're not "looking for the problem" you and everyone else must get out immediately. Let the FD guys with Scott Packs sort it out...
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 8,649
    NY_Rob said:

    Canucker said:

    Quite honestly, at any of those levels I'm looking for the problem because none of them are good for you. Unless there is a fire, I'm not calling the fire department.

    @ 400ppm CO you're not "looking for the problem" you and everyone else must get out immediately. Let the FD guys with Scott Packs sort it out...
    Not only that, you have no way of knowing if CO is equal throughout the house. You may walk into a huge pocket of it.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • CanuckerCanucker Member Posts: 330
    Maybe I wasn't clear. I'm leaving the building no matter what the reading is. No matter what the sensor reads, you're being poisoned. Heck, if it's below 40 ppm, it may not go off. Again, you're still being poisoned.
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • unclejohnunclejohn Member Posts: 931
    It's your life so spend YOUR money on the detector and quit complaining about the landlord.
  • sarahm73sarahm73 Member Posts: 27
    > @unclejohn said:
    > It's your life so spend YOUR money on the detector and quit complaining about the landlord.

    I did purchase a detector but its is the landlords responsibility to maintain the heating system so as to not risk the lives of her tenants. I take it, by your hostile response, that you are one of the irresponsible breed of slum lords solely concerned with making a buck. That's how you come off anyway. Have a lovely day.
  • TheKeymasterTheKeymaster Member Posts: 21
    edited September 18
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