You’ve bought a new house – new to you, anyway. It’s a big rambling country estate with many rooms and three floors. It’s your dream house. You and your family move in and it’s paradise – for three days. But then, unexplained things begin happening.
First, even though you’re deliriously happy at moving in to your dream home, as is the rest of your family, you all unaccountably become depressed, listless, without energy, and none of you can explain why. One day you’re in the living room, and you hear scraping directly overhead, as if someone is upstairs moving the furniture from one end of the room to the other. This is impossible, however; your husband’s at work and the kids are at school. You go upstairs to investigate only to find everything in its place and no one in the room.
The whole family begins to report strange sounds coming from the attic and the basement – clanking, footsteps, even sighing and shrieking. Every time you go to the area from which the sounds emanate, no one is there.
Then the nighttime visitations begin. Your children come to your room at night, demanding to know why you called them – when you didn’t. They insist someone was calling their name. One night, coming out of a deep sleep, you find two people you’ve never seen before standing at the foot of your bed.
The whole family complains of headaches, but that doesn’t surprise you – the lack of sleep, the almost constant barrage of noise – who wouldn’t have headaches? The final straw comes when you wake in the night and find a strange man sitting on your chest, and you’re paralyzed, unable to move or even scream.
You know what’s happening here, don’t you? The house is obviously haunted. You’ve read about it, seen movies about it, even semi-serious scientific television shows devoted to the topic. So what do you do? Should you call your realtor? You call in a paranormal expert, of course. During the next weeks, the expert suggests many ideas, but none seem to work. Until one day, your brother-in-law comes for a visit and you tell him about the noises.
“Are you all having headaches? Are you depressed? Do you wake up paralyzed?”
You’re stunned – your brother-in-law is no paranormal expert. He happens to be an HVAC man. “It’s not ghosts,” he says. “You’re being slowly poisoned by carbon monoxide.”
He checks your furnace, and sure enough, a slow leak has been filling the house with the gas. He replaces your furnace, and all the symptoms your family had been experiencing vanish overnight.
The moral of our story? Your house probably isn’t haunted. But you may have a bad furnace.
Prevention is key. Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe.
Clean and inspect your home heating system, chimney and flue by a qualified technician each year. Keep chimneys clear of bird and squirrel nests, leaves, and residue to ensure proper ventilation.
Have your furnace, gas oven, range and cook top inspected for adequate ventilation yearly.
Never burn charcoal inside your house (even in the fireplace). Hire an inspector to come out give your gas fireplace the once-over to ensure the pilot light burns safely.
Don’t operate gasoline-powered engines in your garage or basement. Never leave your car, mower or other vehicle running in an attached garage, even with the door open.
Do not block or seal shut water heater, range or clothes dryer exhaust flues or ducts