Seeking ideas on indoor air quality

Hey Folks, I’m looking for ideas on an inspection I just left.

Yesterday, I inspected the home and had to leave because I felt sick (nausea), started sweating, and was afraid of getting sick in someone else’s home. I went home, vomited, took a 1 hour nap and felt fine. Today, I went back to finish and about an 30 minutes after I got there, I started sweating and feeling sick again (luckily, I was done in about 50 minutes and left.

Below are the facts about the home:

  • Clean home, Built 1997.
  • No CO. My machine measured 0 ppm.
  • Return air duct was blocked with stick on magnets (maybe it was this, but I’m unsure if this raises CO2 levels, or what).
  • No smell of mold, or other funky stuff in home.
  • I don’t have an Indoor Air Quality Tester (and never thought I might need one until today).
  • I’m hesitant to put something in my report that I can’t back up with facts (when possibly it’s a specific allergy or something that only affects me).

Thanks in advance for any ideas on this one.

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Got any pictures? :wink:

Well, as this is outside your preview as a home inspector, just as medical diagnostics is outside mine, I recommend you go see a doctor. “Recommend further evaluation by a qualified Phd”.

Looks like the house is occupied, and the owners are still alive. I do not think your observations indicate a significant building defect. You don’t have the tools that tell you anything. You could be having a peanut allergy reaction you never experienced before. :man_shrugging:

We have good inspectors here, but not that good to diagnose anything like this, from out here.


Curious… What test EQ did you use to help diag this concern?

Where was the home.
You are near Palestine.


It’s an Extech CO15. Not a really expensive unit (~$100), and I don’t use it that often—Mostly when I have concerns about combustion air.

No I’m not near Palestine (seen the news reports though). I’m North of Cincinnati/South of Dayton.

Nope, not near E. Palestine—It’s almost 300 miles away. Truth is, when I first started feeling sick, I went outside to do the exterior in hopes that the cool fresh air would help—and it did, a little, but when I went back in the home it started getting worse and I had to leave without completing the inspection (1st time I’ve EVER done that). Didn’t really think too much about it until it happened to me again today when I went back to finish. Weird.


well thats not good… starving the air handler

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Right, but when I looked it up online, I didn’t find anything about it affecting air quality, only stressing the equipment.

It could be possible that you’re alergic to something in the home.

In the past I’ve had clients that were alergic to cats get a similar reaction when cats lived in the home even though they weren’t there during the inspection.

As stated earlier, you may want to talk to your doctor about it.


Had an interesting discussion about that. Some say that when the filter is blocked and the blower is moving NO air it does less work. With an unobstructed air flow it works harder. Guess I’ll have to set something up with amp clamp to test that theory.

I can’t help you with your diagnosis of indoor air quality from where I live. But personally, if I had a reaction like you describe, and if I thought it was not the flu or some other bug going around; I would mention it in my report. I’d also talk to the buyer and buyer’s agent and explain what happened.

It could be “it was just me”, or it could be something else that is important for the buyer to know about. You do not know what the cause is.


Just another thought. I assume it was a furnace. Blocked return. This can crack the heat exchanger.
I question your CO detector. Also, there does not need to be CO to make you feel sick from combustion gasses.


Carbon monoxide. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion . CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you.

Since the OP said his equipment indicated zero CO, and the way he described the situation, my thoughts are that he is experiencing some sort of reaction to something within the home - pets - cleaning solutions - food or something else. He may have, or recently developed, an allergy of which he is not aware. I had my wife read this post. She is an RN and Medical Coder. She agrees with me - get checked out by a Medical Doctor.

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