Posts Tagged ‘carbon monoxide’

The things you find out in the garage, part 3: it’s not the makings of good indoor air

May 23, 2014

We’ve talked about the bad venting set up for this furnace and water heater and also about what it sits on in past posts. I’m not quite done with indoor air quality, and I’d like to draw your attention to another area of the duct work that is right out in the open.air leak insulation
While we look at this system in the garage, you can see that there was an attempt to insulate and to seal the duct work. The un-faced fiberglass wrapped around most of the duct work is stained in a number of places. This would be from the garage air being drawn into the system every time it runs. The mystery regarding duct tape is why we call it that, since it doesn’t seal ducts and It was on parts of this system.
Keep in mind that all of the observations were just from the garage, the area of the home you mayduct tape leaks walk through every day. Never mind what we found in the attic.
The happy ending to this story is that this homeowner was given a list of solutions to the problems we found. With a new system, measures were taken in the home as well that will mean lower energy bills, better comfort, and most important of all a healthier and safer home.

Thanks,
Jason

Advertisements

The Things you Find out in the Garage

April 28, 2014

While visiting one of our locations, Young’s Air conditioning in Los Banos, I had the pleasure of joining their auditor on the discovery of a unique furnace venting arrangement. As you might imagine with combustion equipment, unique is not really a good thing.P1060853
To the untrained eye, this arrangement might look fine, everything’s connected after all. But even from a distance, this furnace and water heater set up, to even the slightly trained eye, looked wrong because…well it was.
Two exhausts into one may be ok if it is sized right and pitched correctly, but here is a natural draft water heater and a power vented “sealed combustion” into the same flue.
Power vented appliances are also called direct vent, implying they are directly vented to the outside, and should be, on their own.
IP1060852’m in awe over the connection where the PVC (used for lower temperature exhaust) is TAPED into the metal connector (high temperature exhaust) of the 6” flue.
Making sure combustion equipment is set up properly is only the beginning. Having certified and trained people to install and assess that equipment is important. Our advisors are BPI-certified for this reason.
I’ve got more to share, till next time.
Stay safe!

Jason.

Bird’s Nests and Broken Flues

December 6, 2013

We are well into the heating season for many areas of the country.  And recently we talked about

bird nesta clean and tune; the annual servicing of your heating equipment.    This can be done at any point in the year but some of us wait to the last minute to do it.  Some sign on with a service agreement so they don’t have to think about it.

Efficiency is a big part of getting your furnace or boiler running in top shape, but it’s important to check equipment attached to flues or chimneys to ensure that they are actually drafting properly.  The bird nest built over the summer in this home in Allentown Pa  caused a lot of problems for the residents, in particular potentially lethal levels of Carbon Monoxide.

Consider a BPI certified contractor capable of doing testing needed to ensure the worst case doesn’t happen.   Make nesting for the winter comfortable and safe!

Thanks,

Jason

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Seggerde_Storchennest.JPG

Worse than Burning the Bird

November 20, 2013

There are plenty of things to consider for Thanksgiving, like making sure you  thaw out the bird properly, and cook it at the right temperatures.  And some guests may have food allergies as well so it’s always good to ask.

bird

Food aside, there are other concerns, and ventilation is an important one. People need it and so do homes.  Over the holidays it can get stuffy with so many people visiting, but if your home is that way without guests, you suffer from high humidity or poor air quality, maybe it’s time to do something about it.   An assessment is a good place to start.  It’s nice to have ventilation systems in place all the time not just for the holidays.

One specific kind of ventilation, exhaust fans in kitchens, help us by removing smoke and odors, and especially if you’re cooking with gas, carbon monoxide.  While it’s not smart to use a grill inside, most people forget that their gas stove is a source for Carbon Monoxide; cooking a turkey in a hot stove for hours without exhausting the kitchen could put your family at risk for CO poisoning, and that is worse than burning the bird!

Thanks,

Jason

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:H%C3%A4hnchengrill_01.jpg

 

 

Helping out the Orphans?

November 12, 2013

I’m not talking about the Oliver Twists of the world, but the orphans I’m referring may be in your home, in closets, basements and garages.

orphans

 

What I’m referring to is something our advisors come across in an energy audit on a regular basis, an orphaned appliance; usually it’s a naturally drafting water heater.   It means that the small flue that comes off of the orphaned appliance runs to a larger chimney that used to share another combustion appliance with.  Without the larger one to help, the orphaned appliance can struggle to draw properly.

P1060275

In fact it may not draw at all, which means the unhealthy combustion gasses will enter your home instead of exit it, that can be dangerous.

This is why it is so important to have a professional test the health and safety of equipment in your home as well as test the home itself and how it can influence the equipment.   Not every heating technician does this on a regular seasonal tune up.  Our energy advisors check for carbon monoxide in the equipment and throughout the home.  We check how fans and doors in the home interact with the area combustion appliances live. We keep an eye out for orphans every day do every day as BPI certified auditors.  There’s much more to a comprehensive energy audit than energy!

Help these orphans and help make your home a safer one!

Thanks,

Jason

 

Orphan flyer picture:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AOrphan_train_flyer.jpg

When in Rome….perform combustion safety testing!

October 11, 2013

Heating season is approaching for some parts of the country and while this stove doesn’t heat the place, the College of Cardinals that gathered in the Sistine Chapel last winter, used a stove system that has evolved over many years, and needed some fine tuning to work right.   The_Sistine_Chapel_(5967688938)

Jon Vara, in The Journal of Light Construction wrote, that since at least 1903, ballots from the papal voting have been burned in this system of ductwork and combustion equipment to announce their decision on a new pope.

Many things have been tried to ensure the color of the smoke is correct, but just as important if not more so, is the trouble of getting the smoke to go the right way.  Even in the latest installation from 2005, the stove back-drafted.

Our advisors might pay special attention to how equipment works in your home.  They also pay special attention to how the home and heating equipment interact too.  I’d say they would have to bring a few more (ok, many more) blower doors to test the tightness of such a big place like the Sistine Chapel, but combustion testing is the same big or small.

Smoke needs to leave the house (or chapel) and other gasses should go with it.  Carbon Monoxide is the silent killer we are most often concerned about.  Holy Smokes, no matter what kind of stove furnace or boiler, or building for that matter, we should all be concerned with combustion safety whether you live in Rome, Georgia, or Rome, Pennsylvania or Rome, Ohio, or Rome, Maryland or Rome, New York, or Rome, Oregon… you get the idea.

Thanks,

Jason

photo from Wikicommons

 

Money, Good Health and a Comfortable Home, We Have Solutions!

September 3, 2013

Why Get an Energy Audit?  Watch this Video….

Deadly mix: Attic fans and Carbon Monoxide

June 25, 2013

There seems to be a rash of CO Poisonings and scares occurring in hotels recently.  It highlights the importance of CO alarms, and also testing combustion equipment. But Last May, this mom rescued her family overwhelmed by carbon monoxide and it was mother’s day no less!  The attic fan was left on with windows closed and the heating system couldn’t draft properly when it came on.  Carbon monoxide filled the home.

attic

It can happen anywhere, not just in St. Louis.   Attic fans are strong fans and it is important to open windows when using them.  It’s also important to make sure all fans in your home won’t affect heating equipment, especially the kind that drafts naturally.

As much as one big fan can be problem for some heating systems, so can a bunch of small ones.  Have a dryer that exhausts to the outside (it should) in the same space as a furnace?  It can influence draft as can a bath fan, a range hood, even closing doors upstairs.

Just because a furnace or water heater has its own flue or chimney, doesn’t mean it will always work correctly.     Have your HVAC systems tested regularly, but have your home tested too.  Consider having a BPI certified professional test your home, even better, a BPI certified HVAC professional. It’s a strong antidote for a deadly mix.

Thanks,

Jason

 

Where is that Check Engine Light?

May 6, 2013

checkA fairly comprehensive list of ailments sufferable from your very own home was posted in this article.

It is disheartening to read that more than “30 million homes have significant health problems, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. More than 20 million housing units have a lead-based paint hazard. And more than 6.8 million homes have radon exposures above the level at which remedial action should be taken, as determined by the EPA.”

Building materials, new and old can affect our indoor air quality.  Moisture can lead to problems as well especially when it helps foster the growth of mold.  Lead is still an issue in older homes, and carbon monoxide, one of our regular topics is also a concern.

How in the world do you keep track of all of this?  Certainly knowledge is power.  Learning more about hazards can help you avoid them.  We’ve had numerous posts on CO, information in our learning center  and there are other resources as well such as the EPA.

One quote from the same piece that I really appreciated was this: In our cars, we have oil and check engine lights,” says Rebecca Morley, executive director of the National Center for Healthy Housing. “There’s no such light for a house.”    This is true, and one of the reasons why an energy assessment of your home that is focused on health and safety is so critical.  It can be like a check engine light going off, then its’ just a matter of finding a mechanic to fix it.

Thanks,

Jason

Carbon Monoxide: Be Afraid, Take Action!

April 17, 2013

We’ve posted about CO in the past.  It comes up in the news too often, and it is something we should all be concerned about.   A case in Aspen, Colorado is moving to trial following the death of a family due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Aspen Daily News reported that According to the lawsuit, the boiler’s exhaust piping was disconnected, because it had been “neither properly primed, glued or sealed and was not securely attached, supported or braced in any way.”  They also found that the vent to pull fresh air in was not connected to the outside so it only recirculated CO in the home.

This seems like gross negligence, and the reason why installers need to be certified, as well as why codes are in place.   Even with this, systems fail when they are not maintained.

  • Install a CO monitor and check it annually much like a smoke detector.
  • Have your combustion appliances checked regularly.
  • Regular HVAC service calls are important.
  • Even better have a BPI certified auditor assess your home.  It is part of a very thorough inspection of not only water heaters, furnaces and boilers, but also gas ovens and fireplaces, some things HVAC technicians may not normally inspect.

 

Thanks,

Jason


%d bloggers like this: