This past week, a client of ours called about possibly testing her drinking water. Her family had been feeling ill and her doctor suggested testing for heavy metals in the water. A few questions from our staff led to the discovery that the symptoms started when the heat had been turned on. The symptoms also hit many of the potential health impacts from Carbon Monoxide (CO). We sent a technician out and he tested the combustion and air flow from the unit and discovered that the family was being exposed to carbon monoxide (CO) which could lead to death. They were being exposed to CO at a level 8x the recommended level from the EPA. The technician inspected the heat exchanger and found no problems there. Further investigation found that when the roof was replaced last spring, the flue cap had been crushed trapping the combustion gases that should vent from the home. A replacement of the flue cap and the family was feeling better. Our customer said, “today is the first time in weeks I’ve been able to walk upstairs without stopping for a rest.”
This story shows us that carbon monoxide is a serious danger to the health of a home’s inhabitants and not something to be taken lightly. However, it is also not something to use to scare customers into unneeded repairs. Several of our competitors have policies that state that any mark on a heat exchanger requires them to shut off the unit until it is replaced. Homeowners are then asked to sign a waiver stating that they will die if they use the unit. A simple test of the combustion gas would tell them if there was a carbon monoxide leak, but they use the scary fact that carbon monoxide is dangerous to force people into repairs they do not need. Failing to test for the combustion gas also would have missed the dangerous situation our clients were in because they did not have a heat exchanger causing the issue, it was being caused by a blocked chimney. If a company was using only visual inspection, they may see a bit of dirt and deem it a problem worthy of panic, which missing the blocked chimney that actually IS a cause for panic. Ask to see the combustion gas test results from any company that does work for you.
At Climate Heating and Cooling, we focus on using science rather than guesswork to determine what is causing a unit to malfunction. Contact us today to have our highly trained technicians come to your DC area home.