The Raypold’s narrowly escape the silent killer

Peter Raypold and his family moved into their new three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the summer 2010. They were a happy, healthy family. “The kids had almost perfect attendance at school; they never got sick,” said Raypold. As winter set in the Raypolds began experiencing unusual symptoms. “We started getting really tired,” said Raypold. “It was hard to get up in the morning. Sometimes if I got up too quickly, I would feel dizzy. It was just an overall rotten feeling. The kids started missing school.”

Doctors suggested that the Raypolds might have the flu but as time passed and symptoms worsened, the Raypolds came to believe that they had succumbed to seasonal affective disorder. “The winter blues,” said Raypold. “It made sense. We felt better when we were outside and also started feeling better the next summer. We figured it was the darkness.”

In the fall of the next year the Raypolds signed up for AHFC’s now Home Energy Rebate Program. “We were really cold the previous winter because of a leak, and had been running the heater so much that our bills were through the roof,” explained Raypold. “We signed up, basically, to get more heat and more savings.”

What they got was a big surprise. “The inspector caught the problem right away,” said Raypold. “He told me we were being poisoned. It was a double whammy. Our heater and oven weren’t venting correctly. Instead of pushing carbon monoxide out of our home, they were pumping the air full of poisonous gas.’”

The inspector told Raypold that carbon monoxide levels were so high that he was surprised all five family members had managed to wake up each of those cold winter mornings. He instructed the Raypolds not to use the heater or oven until they could be repaired.

After that initial inspection, the Raypolds made the required repairs and their home was once again safe.

Raypold family on front porch steps

“I absolutely, 100 percent, believe that AHFC saved our lives,” said Raypold. “If we hadn’t had the energy audit done, we would have built up enough carbon monoxide in our bodies that we would have been done. Colorless, odorless. We didn’t even know it was there and it was slowly killing us.” Note: AHFC’s Home Energy Rebate program stopped taking new applicants in March, 2016 but the weatherization program for low-income families still supports residential energy efficiency across the state.