What to Know About Carbon Monoxide Risks After Roof Repairs and Replacement

Lydia Schapiro
Written by Lydia Schapiro
Reviewed by Ami Feller
Updated May 12, 2022
blue family house grey roof
Photo: Barbara Helgason / Adobe Stock

Everything you need to know about new roof sickness and carbon monoxide poisoning

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Getting a new roof is an exciting time. After all, it’s like a facelift for your home that can instantly boost curb appeal. But along with a new roof comes the potential for new roof sickness (aka carbon monoxide poisoning) that can be caused by an improperly ventilated roof. 

While most homeowners will get a new roof without issue, it’s always good to be mindful of new roof sickness symptoms and how to prevent this issue from happening in the first place.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless, colorless, and invisible glass that can pose serious health risks, such as brain and heart damage. Breathing in too much carbon monoxide results in your body replacing the oxygen in your blood with carbon monoxide—which can lead to serious illness or death. 

Can Carbon Monoxide Buildup Occur After New Roofing Installation or Repairs?

Ventilation systems function to direct CO outside of the home and in turn, keep you safe. Sometimes these vent channels run through the walls, attic, and roof, and it’s these channels that can be damaged after a severe weather event or a new roof installation. 

Improperly ventilated roofs can cause carbon monoxide buildup that gets trapped inside the home. This can happen when the flue pipe becomes disconnected during the tear-off or installation. If this happens, it’s possible that you could get new roof sickness. 

Sometimes a new roof installation can result in some of the vent pipes coming apart. If these pipes are too loosely connected, they may detach, causing a carbon monoxide leak. 

Another common issue is if your roofer turns the vent instead of just the furnace cap. If the joints between the different pipe sections are not secured together, these sections can disconnect, and allow carbon to leak inside. 

New Roof Sickness Risks After Weather Events

If you’ve been hit by a serious storm or hail event, check to see if the ventilation caps on your furnace and chimney are damaged. Hail is a common reason for dislodged vent caps; once dislodged, they can collapse and consequently block the ventilation pipe’s opening. As a result, the vents aren’t properly able to direct the CO outside. 

For instance, hail, rain, tornadoes, and extreme winds can pose threats to your roof, such as carbon monoxide leaks. A storm can result in damage to your furnace caps. If a furnace cap is too far down on the flue pipe, the venting will be obstructed, trapping combustion gases. In order to avoid new roof sickness, it’s a good idea to hire an expert following any major weather events.

How to Know If You Have Carbon Monoxide Poisoning From Your Roof

While carbon monoxide issues after roof repairs and replacement will most likely never happen to you, it’s always smart to educate yourself.  You can be more knowledgeable about CO poisoning by understanding what it feels/looks like. 

The most common carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are as follows:

  • Headache

  • Weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea/vomiting 

  • Confusion 

  • Blurred vision

  • Loss of consciousness 

Who Is at Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Although everyone is at risk of experiencing CO poisoning, some people are more susceptible than others. 

Those who are more vulnerable include:

  • Infants

  • Older adults 

  • People with chronic heart diseases

  • People with anemia

  • People with breathing problems 

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Incidents From New Roof Installation

mother and daughter reading together in bed
Photo: kate_sept2004 / Getty Images

There are a few ways to take precautions when it comes to avoiding CO incidents inside your home. 

Get a Roof Inspection 

One initial way to prevent unseen issues is to hire an HVAC expert to inspect your roof after any repair/replacement. 

Install a CO Detector

To be extra conscientious about your home’s CO levels, you can also install a battery-operated or battery backup CO detector in your home. 

Note: Ensure you check the battery a couple of times a year and replace it every five years. Carbon monoxide detectors usually cost somewhere from $15 to $150, while labor fees start at $45 per hour.

Get Chimney Inspections

In general, you should get chimney inspections every year to make sure your chimney isn’t blocked by debris. When hiring a local roof inspector, make sure you do some research to ensure you’re making an informed choice based on factors like costs and reviews.

Always inspect the attic after any repairs or a roof replacement, ensuring the pipes haven’t come loose. If they do, contact an HVAC repair service in your area

Check Flue Vent

Following any severe storm or a new roof installation, check the flue vent piping to make sure they haven’t disconnected or come loose. If you find a rupture, contact a licensed HVAC professional who can properly patch up the hole. Since improper patching can lead to CO buildup, it’s best to leave this job to a professional. 

In addition, check the venting exit to make sure it’s clear of any type of debris, leaves, or dirt. 

What to Do If You’re Experiencing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning From Your Roof 

If you believe you’re experiencing CO poisoning from new roof sickness, it’s important to call 911 or get to an emergency room. Once at the ER, the doctors will provide you with oxygen via an oxygen mask, and this will counterbalance the buildup. 

While it’s pretty rare to experience new roof sickness, it’s a great idea to learn about the key warning signs—just in case. By staying ahead of the game, you’ll be better equipped to handle any given situation. 

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.