Carbon Monixide and Heating Safety

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As the home heating season approaches, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges consumers to have a professional inspection of all fuel- burning appliances -- including furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, clothes dryers and space heaters -- to detect deadly carbon monoxide (CO) leaks.

These appliances burn fuels -- typically gas, both natural and liquefied petroleum; kerosene; oil; coal; and wood. Under certain conditions, these appliances can produce deadly CO, but with proper installation and maintenance, are safe to use.

CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning any fuel. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to flu, and include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. Exposure to high levels of CO can cause death.

"CO poisoning associated with using fuel-burning appliances kills more than 200 people each year and sends about 10,000 to hospital emergency rooms for treatment," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown.

CPSC recommends the yearly, professional inspection include checking chimneys, flues and vents for leakage and blockage by creosote and debris. Leakage through cracks or holes could cause black stains on the outside of the chimney or flue. These stains can mean that pollutants are leaking into the house. Also, have all vents to furnaces, water heaters, boilers and other fuel-burning appliances checked to make sure they are not loose or disconnected.

Make sure your appliances are inspected for adequate ventilation. A supply of fresh air is important to help carry pollutants up the chimney, stovepipe or flue, and is necessary for the complete combustion of any fuel. Never block ventilation air openings.

CPSC recommends that every home should have at least one CO detector that meets the requirements of the most recent Underwriters Laboratories 2034 standard or International Approval Services 6-96 standard.

Consumers should also have the vent pipes on their heating systems inspected. Earlier this year, virtually the entire furnace and boiler industry together with the manufacturers of high-temperature plastic vent (HTPV) pipes joined with CPSC to announce a vent pipe corrective action program. The program's purpose is to replace, free of charge, an estimated 250,000 HTPV pipe systems attached to gas or propane furnaces or boilers in consumers' homes. The HTPV pipes could crack or separate at the joints and leak CO.

Consumers can check the vent pipes attached to their natural gas or propane furnaces or boilers to determine if they are part of this recall. They can be identified as follows: the vent pipes are plastic; the vent pipes are colored gray or black; and the vent pipes have the names "Plexvent", "Plexvent II" or "Ultravent" stamped on the vent pipe or printed on stickers placed on pieces used to connect the vent pipes together. Consumers should also check the location of these vent pipes. For furnaces, only HTPV systems that have vent pipes that go through the sidewalls of structures (horizontal systems) are subject to this program. For boilers, all HTPV systems are subject to this program. Other plastic vent pipes, such as white PVC or CPVC, are not involved in this program.

After checking the vent pipes, consumers should call the Corrective Action Program toll-free at (800) 758-3688, between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. EDT, seven days a week, to verify that their appliance venting systems are subject to this program. Consumers with eligible systems will receive new, professionally installed venting systems free of charge. Additionally, consumers who already have replaced their HTPV pipe systems may be eligible for reimbursement for some or all of the replacement costs.


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Richard Ives
Chicago, IL

Great information Billy.

Have a great weekend.

Sep 05, 2008 12:53 PM #1
Billy Boerner - Saint Louis, MO
Home Inspector

Thanks Richard!  My weekend couldn't get any better.  I'm about to jump on a plane bound for the United States!  St. Louis here I come :)


Sep 05, 2008 01:16 PM #2
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy Billy

I sure do hope folk's back home, read your well writte post. For it can help save lives.

From one Missourian to another, you may want to take this here will written post out of the newbies group. For it may get the boot any how.

P.S. Welcome Home Billyhome!!

God Bless America

Sep 05, 2008 01:59 PM #3
Roy A. Peterson
Domicile Analysis of Texas - El Paso, TX

Hi Billy, Thanks for sharing this excellent and informative post. Have a good and safe trip,




Sep 05, 2008 03:42 PM #4
Baker Home Inspection and Commercial Properties Inspections
Baker Residential and Commercial Properties Inspections - Springfield, VT
Home and Commercial Properties Inspections Vermont

Billy, I stop by in-order to check to see if you had started being active on your blog here agin or not.

Jul 22, 2013 12:07 AM #5
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Billy Boerner

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