Recalls & Warnings

image212

Recall Information

Lennox Pulse Furnaces Recalled

Lennox Industries, a major maker of high-efficiency home gas furnaces, has announced a factory-subsidized inspection program (recall) for Lennox Pulse furnaces installed between 1982 and 1989. A company news release said unacceptable levels of corrosion had been found in some of the heat exchangers of furnaces manufactured and installed during that time. “A combination of things, such as condensation, impurities in fuel, inadequate cleaning or irregular inspections can, over the lifetime of the unit, lead to undetected corrosion of key components of the heating system”, said Bob Schjerven, president and CEO of Lennox. “Improperly inspected or maintained furnaces can develop problems, including the possibility of carbon monoxide leaks that could be fatal,” he added.

If you are unsure whether your furnace is covered by the program, you should remove the front door of the furnace and find the name tag. It will contain a number beginning with “GS14” or “GSR14”, etc., followed by a series of other numbers and letters. One should then contact Lennox at (800)537-4341.

– –  IMPORTANT UPDATE  – –

Lennox appears to have discontinued their free inspection program with respects to this furnace problem.  The above telephone number will give you no useful information.  If you suspect that you have one of the furnaces affected, I would recommend that you contact your closest Lennox dealer for a complete inspection, as soon as possible. Whether or not Lennox wants to accept further responsibility doesn’t preclude the fact that a problem can exist with some of these furnaces. We are still finding furnaces that have never been inspected for this problem and are in need of repair so please don’t let a $60 – $80 service call stand in the way of your safety! If you have a Lennox Pulse furnace that has not been inspected, call a qualified HVAC contractor today!

Carrier – Bryant – Payne – Day & Night Furnaces Recalled

A 2008 settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit about whether Carrier Corporation (“Carrier”) failed to disclose alleged defects in the secondary heat exchangers of its high efficiency gas furnaces. This settlement is not about personal injuries, wrongful death, or emotional distress.

Carrier will pay those included in the settlement up to $270 for an eligible secondary heat exchanger failure and offer an enhanced 20-year warranty on secondary heat exchangers in their high efficiency gas furnaces.

The lawsuit includes Carrier, Bryant, Payne, and Day & Night high efficiency gas furnaces. Gas furnaces include both natural gas and propane. Oil furnaces are not included in the settlement.

Carrier furnace model numbers included are: 58SX*,58DXC, 58MXB, 58MVP,58SXA, 58MSA, 58UVB, 58MVB, 58SXC, 58MCA, 58SXB*, 58MTA, 58DX*, 58MXA, 58VUA, 58MTB, 58DXA, 58MCB, 58VCA, 58MVC.

Bryant/Payne/Day & Night furnace model numbers included are: 398AAW*, 398AAV, 398BAZ, 490AAV, 398AAZ, 350MAV, 320AAZ, PG9MAA, 399AAW*, 340AAV, 321AAZ, PG9MAB, 399AAZ, 350AAV, 355MAV, 355CAV, 399AAV, 351DAS, 355AAV, 340MAV, 345MAV, 355BAV, 352MAV, 398BAW*, 352AAV

*Note: On model numbers 58SX, 58DX, 58SXB, 398AAW, 399AAW, and 398BAW only those with serial numbers 89 or higher in the third and fourth position (i.e. xx89xxxxxx) are included in the settlement.

Whether or not these manufacturers still accept responsibility doesn’t preclude the fact that a problem can exist with some of these furnaces. We are still finding furnaces that have never been inspected for this problem and are in need of repair so please don’t let a $60 – $80 service call stand in the way of your safety! If you have a furnace that falls under this recall and has not been inspected, call a qualified HVAC contractor today!

image213

Does Something Smell Like Rotten Eggs?? Could Be Your Furnace is Leaking Gas!

 

The smell of sulfur or rotten eggs almost always indicates a gas supply issue. Natural gas is odorless, but suppliers treat the gas with a strong rotten egg smell to make gas leaks more detectable. If the smell is faint, but does not dissipate, turn off the furnace and ventilate your home. If you smell gas and can track it back to your furnace, immediately turn off the unit, evacuate the household, and call the gas company and fire department.  Smelling gas is a dangerous situation that you should respond to immediately. The gas company will provide inspections but not repairs. To fix the underlying problem, contact a professional heating company for emergency service.  Rotten egg and sulfuric-like smells are clear signs to take immediate action before a fire occurs.  Symptoms of natural gas exposure include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, headaches, and irregular- breathing. High levels of natural gas can cause loss of consciousness and in extreme cases, death.

Some Things You Should Do If You Smell Gas

  • Immediately leave your home or building!.
  • Immediately call your local emergency number (911) from a cell phone outside the home or building, or from a neighboring location, to immediately report the suspected gas leak!
  • Do not use your telephone, turn on or off the light switches, light a match or do anything that might create a spark or flame!
  • Do not re-enter the building where the leak is suspected until emergency professionals give the okay!

Educate your family on the signs of an indoor gas leak. Learn what you can do to prevent home fires and issues with your gas furnace or gas line. Over time the underground gas lines can corrode leading to gas leaks.

Follow That Smell of Rotten Eggs or Sulfur

The rotten egg smell is not to be ignored. Another cause of that smell is a dangerous electrical situation. Follow the smell to identify where the smell is coming from and what your next action should be. To be safe, leave the home and contact your fire department to assess the situation.

You May Hear a Hissing Sound

Keep an eye out for the subtle signs of gas in your surroundings. Never ignore even the slightest indication of natural gas in or around your home. When you follow the smell you may also hear a hissing sound coming from a pipe or behind a wall. Gas does make a sound when it is leaking from the gas line. Take immediate action to prevent more gas from escaping.

Things You May Notice Outside Your Home if a Gas Leak is Present

  • Air: A gas leak can cause dirt to be thrown into the air or plants to be blown as if by a breeze. Air coming from the ground near the home is a possible sign of a gas leak.
  • Bubbles: A leak in a gas pipe can sometimes cause bubbling in moist areas around the home.
  • Dying Plants: Plant life near a gas leak will become sickly and eventually die. While plants can certainly wilt and die due to a variety of reasons, plants that die without an obvious cause could indicate a gas leak. A natural gas leak blocks a flower’s source of oxygen and fruits and vegetables will change color when they come in contact with natural gas. If you see dead or discolored plants surrounded by healthy green plants, that’s a sign of a gas leak.
  • Fire or Flame: If you see fire coming from the ground or a flame that appears to burn above the ground, that could indicate a gas leak.
  • Dry Earth in a Moist Field: If you observe a dry spot in a moist field, pay attention as this is a sign of a gas leak.

Preventing a gas fire is the number one priority once a gas leak is identified. A professional HVAC company provides annual safety and efficiency inspections of gas appliances and heaters that can be life-saving. Give us a call for an annual maintenance and inspection of your home’s gas heater. We highly recommend scheduling an annual heating and fireplace maintenance in the fall, before the winter heating season begins.

image214

Chinese Drywall Complaint

TAINTED, CORROSIVE DRYWALL. From approximately 1999 until today, some homes in Texas were reportedly built or

renovated using tainted drywall imported from China (“Tainted, Corrosive Drywall”). Tainted, Corrosive Drywall may emit toxic levels of

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), iron disulfide, strontium sulfide, carbon disulfide, carbonyl sulfide, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide, and/or sulfur trioxide

causing corrosion of copper and metal surfaces, including air conditioner coils, refrigerator coils, copper tubing, and electrical wiring, and it often

creates noxious odors which may pose health risks. Tainted, Corrosive Drywall has most commonly been reported in houses built or

renovated/remodeled after 2000 in 42 out of the nation’s 50 states. Additional information concerning Tainted, Corrosive Drywall can be found

at: http://www.cpsc.gov/info/drywall/index.html; http://www.constructionguru.com; and http://chinesedrywallcomplaintcenter.com.

image215

FPE Stab-Lok Electric Panels

 

Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panels have a long history of problems.  If you have one of these electric panels in your home or you're buying a home with one of these panels, you should have the panel replaced.  

When I used to find an FPE Stab-Lok panel during a home inspection, I would recommend having these panels further evaluated by an electrician and replaced if neccessary, but now I just skip the whole 'further evaluation' thing.  I tell my clients to have the panels replaced. To understand why, here are a few key points:

  • Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) sold millions of panels between the 1950's and 1980's.
  • Testing by the Consumer Product Safety Commision has shown these breakers to have an unacceptably high rate of failure, which creates a safety hazard.
  • Testing has proven that virtually every panel installed in the United States contains defective breakers.
  • FPE falsified their UL testing, making their UL listing void.
  • Approximately 1 out of 3 breakers are defective.
  • If a breaker fails to trip when it should, the wires in the home that are supposed to be protected can start on fire.

So why don't I recommend having an electrician evaluate the panel?  There's no point.  Some electricians are under the impression that FPE panels are safe if they can turn every breaker on and off, if every breaker is tightly attached, and if there is no evidence of overheating or scorching in the panel.  These things would be dead givaways that there is a problem, but to truly know if the breaker would trip when it needs to, each breaker would need to actually be tested.  This testing would be more expensive than having the entire panel replaced.

In the past, I told my clients to have FPE panels evaluated by an electrician. I followed up with many buyers that bought homes with FPE panels because I was curious how many panels actually got replaced, and I found two typical outcomes: One - the buyer's agent would tell the buyer that I'm just trying to cover my butt, the panel has been fine for the current owners for the last 30 years, so it shouldn't be a problem.  Two - the buyer would ask the seller to have an electrician evaluate the panel for safety, and the seller would find an electrician willing to say the panel is safe.

I started to wonder what electricians are actually saying about these panels, so I sent out emails to fifty electricians in the Twin Cities metro area, asking them how they test or evaluate FPE panels.  You'd be surprised how difficult it was to find fifty email addresses of local electricians.  Here are the responses I received:

  • Twelve electricians said they don't look at these panels or test them, they just consider them a safety hazard and say they should be replaced.  I had several electricians call me and share some great personal stories and anecdotes with me.
  • Four electricians said that these are poorly made panels that are prone to failure, but replacement is only recommended, not required.  They look for loose breakers, scorch marks, or burn marks.
  • One electrician said that he overloads a random number of breakers past it's rating to see if they'll trip.  I like this guy's hands-on approach, but this is probably an unsafe practice and it won't tell you anything about the safety of the panel unless every single breaker is tested.
  • Thirty-three didn't respond.


  •  By Reuben Saltzman 

image216

Coming soon!

image217

Coming Soon!