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Sometimes, it's a good day


Darren
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Tuesdays inspection was just another typical day. The tenants of this 50 year old house are considering purchasing it. They have been living here for about a year and know the type of landlord and what's been done and what needs to be done. Well sort of...

During my roof inspection, I walked over to the chimney and found a rain cap filled with debris.

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If the cap is easy to take of, I will. This one was shot down so if I took if off, I'd have no way to re-install it.

I told my client what i found on the exterior and told her to call a chimney sweep (gave her the # of a local guy) and explained the debris was blocking the venting of the heating and fireplace.

After about 10 minutes inside the house, I started to get a headache. Talking to the tenant, I found out she and her family have been getting headaches also.

I told her what I thought the problem was and she should call the chimney sweep and get him over here now. She did call but he couldn't make it till the afternoon.

The next day I sent an e-mailed her asking about the chimney sweep- here's her reply:

"Thanks (for the report), it is very well done and thorough.

We owe you a great deal. The furnace guy said that the furnace exhaust pipe was almost flush with the chimney wall, trapping CO. He read it as "2" upstairs (with the heat mostly off); when he went downstairs to the furnace and I turned it on the reading spiked to "11", dangerous.

He moved the pipe out and cleared the debris, it was 95% blocked. He called it a "perfect storm" for carbon monoxide poisoning.

We have been breathing a lot of carbon monoxide for over a year.

How can we thank you for this. I woke up this morning without a headache for the first time in months. No telling what long term damage this has done."

I feel pretty good today.

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Yes, good job; however, how did all of that debris get inside of the spark arrester anyway? Unless there's a hole there large enough for a bird or rat to pass through while carrying a piece of debris, either they installed it over the top of the debris or someone intentionally took it off and then stuffed that flue with debris.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Yes, good job; however, how did all of that debris get inside of the spark arrester anyway? Unless there's a hole there large enough for a bird or rat to pass through while carrying a piece of debris, either they installed it over the top of the debris or someone intentionally took it off and then stuffed that flue with debris.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Squirrel (rat) nest attempt. Maybe a bird.

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Yes, good job; however, how did all of that debris get inside of the spark arrester anyway? Unless there's a hole there large enough for a bird or rat to pass through while carrying a piece of debris, either they installed it over the top of the debris or someone intentionally took it off and then stuffed that flue with debris.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Squirrel (rat) nest attempt. Maybe a bird.
Yeah,

I assumed as much; but around here the spark arrestors don't have any openings large enough for birds, bats, rats or squirrels to pass through. I'm trying to figure out how that debris got inside of that screen.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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Darren,

Does NJ require CO detectors in all homes, like NY?

Yes.

NJ requires the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as part of the closing process. Many real estate agents keep a few in their trunk so that when they meet the town inspector at the house they can install detectors as needed before the inspector leaves and avoid a delay in the transaction.

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Must be the week. As odd as it sounds, I was in the home of a disabled man this week. He was mid 50s and was disabled by heart problems when he was 25. One water heater was in a bathroom. Painter's tape had been applied to the door, as well as the stairs and furnace closet, to keep the return air from "sucking heat" into the house. The other water heater was in a laundry closet in the kitchen. Not even enough combustion and make up air to that one. The vent was no longer connected to the laundry room water heater. Neither he or his wife seemed to feel very good.

I wound up connecting the vent, leaving the makeshift cover off and advising them to so get tested. What treatment, if any, is available for CO poisoning?

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