Carbon Monoxide (CO) the Silent Killer
We have all heard about incidents with carbon monoxide (CO) in the local news. Many home inspectors are not familiar with the sources or the “acceptable” exposure levels. The sources are very straight forward, improperly vented combustion appliances and motor vehicles. Any home with combustion appliances; stoves, furnaces, water heaters, dryers, or an attached garage should have at least one CO detector.
So what are the acceptable levels? It depends on who you ask. OSHA says you can be exposed to 50 ppm as an average during an 8-hour workday. NIOSH says 35 ppm and has a 200 ppm ceiling (maximum) limit. The ACGIH says 25 ppm. But these are all workplace requirements.
In the home, the EPA is the one that sets the “recommended” limits. This limit is set at 9 ppm for occupants in a home. Other entities have the same 9 ppm limit; WHO and ASHRAE. There are studies that indicate that even low level exposures can have long term health effects especially if the occupants already have re-existing pulmonary (lung) or circulatory (heart) conditions.
At low level concentrations the symptoms are; fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in people with heart disease. At higher concentrations symptoms include impaired vision and coordination, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and nausea. Exposures can cause flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving home.
Acute effects are due to the formation of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood, which inhibits oxygen intake. At moderate concentrations, angina, impaired vision, and reduced brain function may result. At higher concentrations, CO exposure can be fatal.
CO detectors do not function like smoke detectors. They have a certain concentration of CO that must be attained over a certain time period. One manufacturer for example has the following requirements for the alarm to sound (threshold):
|Parts Per Million||Detector Response Time, Minutes|
|30 +/- 3ppm||No alarm within 30 days|
|70 +/- 5ppm||60-240|
|150 +/- 5ppm||10-50|
|400 +/- 10ppm||4-15|
CO detectors should be placed much like smoke detectors; bedrooms, hallways, one per floor minimum, etc. Consult manufacturer’s installation instructions for proper placement.
Courtesy of AHIT
The Great Unknown Danger About Unsafe Pool Drains
Pools and spas are designed for fun, however, Drowning is second only to car crashes as the leading cause of unintentionaldeath among children and adults. However, The dangers in and around pools go beyond the obvious, such as unsuspecting swimmers being entrapped by drains. Especially if pools’ drains are improperly maintained, or havefaulty covers. Hair, jewelry or limbs can get tangled in the drain, or bodyparts suctioned to it. The force of suction – hundreds of pounds per squareinch – is so powerful that the strongest adults can’t free the victim. Evengood swimmers can drown or suffer catastrophic injuries.
What are some of the ways to prevent pool’s accident?
- Make sure that the drain cover is in good condition with no broke gridsto the cover and make sure all the cover screws are in place and tight.
- Install the drain cover is a anti-vortex type cover, which is designed to distribute the intake water in the sides aswell as the top to lessen the pressure at any one given area in the cover. Beloware pictures of examples of an older drain cover and a newer anti-vortex type cover.
ADDITIONAL STEPS TO SAFERPOOLS.
1. Avoid dangerous drains watch for non-compliant, loose,missing or broken drain covers. If you spot one, don’t enter the pool or spaand notify the owner/operator immediately. Before swimming, tie up long hair securely orwear a swim cap to help prevent entanglement. Warn children to stay away fromdrains and other openings to avoid entrapment.
2. Teach swimming & lifesaving skills Knowing how toswim well is essential. Make sure yourchildren can swim, float, tread water and get in and out of the pool safely.Take classes in First Aid and CPR (for infants, children and adults) and have anemergency plan.
3. Install barriers as every pool needs an isolation fence surroundingit on all sides – four to five feet high. Gates should be self-latching andlocking. Keep spas and hot tubs coveredand locked when not in use.
4. Be vigilant and make sure an adult is watching children inthe pool or spa at all times. Don’t assume kids are OK just because they canswim. Use the Water Watchdog system to divide supervision responsibilities.Encourage children to exercise good water judgment and follow pool rules.
Courtesy of Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation
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