Carbon Monoxide Hazard
My guys recently finished replacing the roof on a C.1900 home that has been completely renovated inside. All the ceilings except one area (a small attic space) where the FAG furnace is, have been vaulted.
They had to remove and replace the furnace vent boot and the B vent cap had to be removed to facilitate that. To get the cap off (it had caulk and tar on it), they had to twist some and in doing that, broke the adjustable elbow that connected to the furnace. There was one strap attaching the vent to the bottom of the rafters and it was screwed to the wood with short (1/2″) sheet metal screws. Apparently it didn’t take much to jerk the screws out of the wood, because both ends of the strap were loose. Where the sections of the elbow had separated, the top section was still sitting on top of the bottom piece, partially lined up.
Last night it was raining and cold enough (45F) to run the furnace a little. The gas flue had previously leaked, so the owners went to check the vent for leaks and found the broken elbow. Apparently, they freaked out because when they called early this AM, they were acting like I had tried to murder them.
While it was not a great scenario, it seemed to not be the dire situation they were trying to make it out to be. While the flue was not positively connected, it was still open and breathing and at 45F, it’s doubtful the furnace was running much. The “furnace room” is next to the master BR, but is sealed pretty well. My first question (after I assured them it was most certainly an accident and since the vent didn’t drop after breaking so it was impossiblre to detect from outside) was did they have a CO detector? She said they did, but took the battery out some time in the past because it was beeping. I was gonna buy her one if she didn’t have one.
Anyway, if you’ve got gas, oil or wood heat, get a damn CO detector and maintain the battery in it. Some guy trying to fix a leak on your roof can kill you in your sleep without one.
But you all knew that. I detailed it extensively in my blog.
Very valuable lesson to share with us, Grant. Thanks!
Who would want a safety warning divice making beeping sounds trying to warn you of a problem!!! Some people!!
"Who would want a safety warning divice making beeping sounds trying to warn you of a problem!!! Some people!!"I see that all the time in my rental units. Smoke detector battery is low so the thing beeps every 90 seconds or so. I tell the tenants to put in a fresh battery - two weeks later I'm there to repair something else and the SD is still beeping or the cover is off and battery removed. They buy their kids junk food every afternoon from the vendor's cart, but won't spend 90 cents to save their lives in the event of a fire!
Just a point on batteries, we have a co detector it was beeping the bad battery warning.
Got a new battery put it in it still chirped, took a bit to figure it out but I put in a regular heavy duty 9volt they do not like, changed it to a good quality alkaline 9 volt all is fine. Some where I read use only alkaline, they mean it.Wallyo
A few years ago, there was an apartment building burned down in Maine. The Landlord was cited for not having operating smoke detectors. His story was that every time he put batteries in, the residents took them out for their games and toys, or because they didn't like to hear them go off for little things like too much cigarette smoke.Sounds like an easy excuse, but I believed him, because I saw him interviewed on TV and he was livid that he was being blamed for their own idiocracy
Welcome to the Taunton University of Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime. where ... Excellence is its own reward!
Piffin Same happens in the apartments I manage either the batteries are gone or they rip the whole unit off the ceiling. I have had even hard wired units torn out. Go figure. If they call me I would be more then glad to go over and put in a battery, maybe the trick is to just put a fresh battery in every one the same time every year (like on the time change to daylight savings) . I usually just make sure the thing works when the lease is signed.Wally
Wally, I've been changing mine all at once for many years.
Come Christmas time all the devices get a present!
Easy to remember and a good time of year for everything to have fresh batteries...buic
The more I think about it the better it sounds, should something happen I would have proof they were inspected and working. Plus it gives a chance to check that there are no unwelcomed pets. or a bedroom has not had the walls and floors painted black, things like that.
Another good day is the Daylight Savings change over day. Fire dept here always makes a big deal out of that day here to remind people to change batteries. There are also special batteries designed just for these type devices.
Generally sold right along side the detectors.
They can't get your Goat if you don't tell them where it is hidden.
Yeah like I said found that out when the think would not stop chirping with a new battery. I remember years ago my dad had a smoke detector when they first came out, the detector took a weird battery about the size of one C cell and half but had the plus nine volt connection on one end, the minus on the other. The battery cost more then the detector talk about special batteries, after three years he got tired (being one not to throw thing away that worked just fine) of it bought one that took a regular 9 volt. Just came to mine when you said special battery. Wallyo
Here in my town they passed an ordinance requiring that smoke detectors be hard wired, and only battery-powered as a back up. Had a friend get quite a shock when the BI told them their kitchen remodel would now have to include hard wired smoke detectors with all the required rewiring.
Along the same lines, in Illinois it is the law that a CO detector be installed within 15 feet of any sleeping room.
Sounds like "Three Mile Island" where one of the warning lights was hidden under a tag, and when they looked at a readout of the pressures in the reactor containment building they saw two spikes where the pressures went off the charts--so they just decided the readings were wrong, because if they readings were right (which they were) it would have meant that there were two hydrogen explosions from the water breaking down into its constituent elements (which it had). Hate those darn warning devices and instruments getting in the way of your conjectures with factual data!
The problem is, if the return air duct is not sealed, especially by the filter, you could have killed them.
Not fear mongering, just fact.
Primary product of combustion is co2 which is also a great fire extinguisher. Poorly sealed duct could cause a negative pressure which creates a downdraft and uses the co2 for combustion air. Now you have co being produced, which is not going up the chimney, and some is getting sucked into the return and being dumped into the house.
If this happened in the fall and it went undetected.............
I'm thinking you got lucky.
Edited 5/13/2008 12:48 am ET by rich1
I may have gotten lucky a couple winters ago. Working on the project house (gutted), we'd had a pretty bad cold snap and I'd been running the unvented kerosene heaters constantly. When they get low they dont' burn so well.
I'd gone to the house, topped off the heaters and then went down to the crawlspace to work on something. After a couple minutes I started to get a light in the corner of my eye. So I tried to blink to clear it.
Minute or so later, it was like my whole right eye had looked at a bright light and wasn't adjusting back. Rubbed my eyes to try and clear it. I was having trouble concentrating on what I was working on. I had moved to get a tool and the whole space started spinning. Dizzy as hell.
That was the point when I figured I'd better get the he11 out of the crawlspace/house. By the time I made it out the front door, I couldn't see out of my right eye, my left eye was all bleary (like I'd just waken up and not rubbed the 'sleep' out), I had a splitting headache and was so dizzy I had to hold on to a porch post.
It took a while before I was seeing normal, and it was probably a day or two before I felt 100%. It spooked me enought that I went out and got a CO detector and a smoke detector.
My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate-- Thornton Wilder
Back in 1997 or so I had a cleaning and inspection performed on my furnace. Family starts having headaches, etc. I buy a CO detector and start seeing moderate readings, but not enough to sound the alarm. Call new HVAC guy.
Sure enough the bonehead HVAC guy missed a crack in the furnace. New HVAC guy was thoroughly disgusted as it was easy to spot.
I recommend people get a CO detector that displays some readout in addition to an alarm as the standard concentration necessary to set off the alarm is pretty high.