Carbon monoxide known by the chemical formula CO is a poisonous gas that kills over 250 people every year in the United States alone. They call it the Silent Killer because you cant see, hear, smell, or taste it. It sneaks up on victims and takes lives without warning. CO is a by-product of an incomplete combustion. Sources of CO include: malfunctioning or improperly ventilated appliances (furnaces, space heaters, water heaters, ranges, fireplaces, etc. that burn gas, oil, wood, or LPG) when the exhaust vent systems of appliances malfunction or if appliances arent properly ventilated, the amount of CO in the air can become deadly.
Other CO sources include exhaust fumes from a car or lawn mower idling in the garage, chimney flues blocked by debris or a birds nest, a furnace or water heater installed in a closet with inadequate ventilation, or charcoal grills used in non-vented areas, etc.
Testing for CO is fairly simple and quick with the proper equipment. While the inspector is performing the home inspection on your new home and operating the fossil fuel burning appliances, he can run a CO check on various appliances in the house to see if there are any excess CO levels present at that time. It takes about 30 minutes to do a CO test on the average 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with one furnace, water heater, and fireplace.