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Furnaces, Water Heaters, and Boilers

Inspections for Furnaces, Water Heaters and Boilers

The CPSC (U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commision) recommends that the yearly professional inspection include checking chimneys, flues and vents for leakage, blockage by debris, and to make sure they are not loose or disconnected. Birds, other animals and insects can build nests in vents over spring and summer, resulting in blockages that cause deadly exhaust to enter the home. The inspector should also check appliance operation to ensure proper fuel input rate, gas pressure, and operating temperatures.

In addition, the inspector should check appliances for gas leaks and adequate ventilation. A supply of fresh air is important to help carry pollutants up the chimney, stovepipe or flue, and fresh air is necessary for the complete combustion of any fuel. Never block ventilation air openings and check the appliance filter to ensure it is clean. Make sure the appliance is operating on the fuel that it is designed to use. To convert an appliance to burn propane, hire a professional to do the modification.

“CPSC recommends that every home have a CO alarm in the hallway near bedrooms in each sleeping area,” said Chairman Stratton. “A CO alarm can wake you up and give you time to save your family.” The CO alarm should meet one of these standards: Canadian Standards Association 6.19-01, 2001; Underwriters Laboratories Inc. 2034, Second Edition, October 1998; or the International Approval Services 6-96, Second Edition, June 1, 1998. Check batteries monthly and replace them annually.

CPSC worked with the furnace and boiler industry and the manufacturers of high-temperature plastic vent (HTPV) pipes to conduct a vent pipe recall program. The program’s purpose is to replace, free, 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 should call their heating and plumbing professional or the HTPV pipe recall Hotline toll-free at (800) 758-3688, between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week, to verify whether their appliance venting systems are subject to this program. Most people never give their water heater a second thought until it stops working. One thing you can do to extend the life of your water heater is to drain the tank regularly to remove any sediment that may have built up inside it. Sediment build up in the tank can reduce your water heater’s energy efficiency and also clog your water lines.

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