Detached vents could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning

Detached vents could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning
Vent attached (Source: Robert Bean)
Vent attached (Source: Robert Bean)

WEST TEXAS (KWES) - Many people are still getting their roof fixed after those summer hail storms. But one small mishap could potentially lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

One homeowner, Robert Bean, just had his roof done on Monday. His sister asked him for help with her vents which led him to checking his own after. 
When Bean checked his vents on top of the furnace and the water heater to see if they were disconnected, he made a quick fix. This can happen when a pipe is accidentally hit during a roof repair.

Bean said to be sure, use a flashlight and check to see if the vent is detached.

"Look at the vent, trace it up," he said. "Make sure it's all connected. You can wiggle it and make sure it's not real loose like it's not connected up in the attic."

10 years ago, while his family was putting up Christmas lights, a vent was hit and caused high levels of carbon monoxide to emit throughout his home. Because it's a colorless and odorless gas, his family wouldn't have known it was in the room if it wasn't for the carbon monoxide detector.

"Our family members, the ladies in the house weren't outside like us and were experiencing headache, already experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning," he said.

This is why Bean is urging homeowners like himself with homes that run on gas to check their vents after a roof repair. The same reason why officials say a carbon monoxide detector can save your life.

"Carbon monoxide permeates the entire atmosphere," said Midland Fire Department Fire Marshal David Hickman. "The longer you're exposed to it, the more harmful it is. Over 30 minutes, most adults won't see much effects. But if you're in there for 2 hours, that can be fatal."

City employees in both Midland and Odessa said there's no city rule that requires roofing companies to check vents after they finish their work so homeowners should take that extra precaution and be responsible to check themselves. Because with a flashlight and couple of seconds, it can a be a difference between life or death.

"Take a flashlight, look at your vents, if you see anything that looks abnormal, call someone who knows something about it and get it fixed because you won't even know carbon monoxide is taking you over," said Bean. "This is a silent killer."

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