Bryan Standley has become a TikTok sensation for revealing all of the hidden problems that houses can have.
Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Standley has inspected thousands of homes throughout his career and joined TikTok in January 2020 to share his tips and experiences. His videos have been liked over 928,000 times at the time of writing.
One hidden problem Standley always reminds his clients about is carbon monoxide, he told Insider.
While carbon monoxide detection is outside the scope of a typical home inspection, Standley and his team always look for indications that something might be leaking the odorless and colorless gas. Often called the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide can be lethal in high doses and cause health issues at low concentrations.
Here’s why Standley believes every homeowner should purchase a low-level carbon monoxide detector.
Typical carbon monoxide detectors may give homeowners a false sense of security, Standley told Insider.
“A lot of people think that, as far as carbon monoxide goes, their house is perfectly healthy because they have a carbon monoxide alarm installed near the furnace or on each level of the house,” he said.
“What most people don’t realize is that a carbon monoxide alarm only goes off when there are deadly amounts of carbon monoxide in the house,” Standley added. “That alarm going off means evacuate the house immediately and call the fire department.”
According to Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing, a person exposed to “very low” levels of carbon monoxide over a period of weeks or months can develop flu-like symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, malaise, and occasionally nausea and vomiting. Long-term exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can also cause “numbness, unexplained vision problems, sleep disturbances, and impaired memory and concentration,” according to the same Harvard Health Publishing article.
Average carbon monoxide levels in homes range from 0.5 parts per million (ppm) to 30 ppm or higher, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
A low-level detector from the National Safety Institute can detect levels as low as 5 ppm. The EPA notes that no carbon monoxide standards have been established for indoor air. Standards for outdoor air quality are exposure to 9 ppm for eight hours, and 35 ppm for one hour, according to a chart published by the EPA.
The average price of a basic carbon monoxide detector ranges from $15-50, according to HomeAdvisor.
Low-level carbon monoxide detectors cost a bit more – Standley typically finds them for around $100 – but the jump in cost is worth monitoring levels on a continual basis, he said, since carbon monoxide can easily find its way into a home.
“Any kind of combustion appliance is capable of producing carbon monoxide, and so if that’s not properly vented or there is some problem with the venting system, like the exhaust system in the home, then that can lead to carbon monoxide coming into the house,” Standley said.