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05-19-2011, 08:46 PM #1
The agent did me a "favor" today and had the furnace on when I got to the home. I didn't get around to the furnace closet for an hour or so and here is what I found:
A closet with very little make up air; a disconnected vent pipe and a disconnected return duct!
Fortunately the house has been vacant (wonder if the owners are still around!).
I was a bit pissed for putting me and the clients in danger.
05-20-2011, 05:40 AM #2
Yikes is right!
However, pretty hard to be pissed at the Realtor for turning on the heat. How are they to know there was something wrong?
05-20-2011, 06:07 AM #3
The house had been vacant for 9 years. The Realtor and his handyman had been there all day trying to get things working before I got there. So yeah, they shouldn't have run the heat. But not to worry, the handyman is going to fix the vent and return for the buyers.
05-20-2011, 06:15 AM #4
No, I wouldn't be mad at the realtor either. Maybe I'd be annoyed by the situation in general or with the previous owners for letting hazardous conditions exist.
This type of helpfulness on the part of the realtor I have recently come to the conclusion actually is detrimental to allowing me to perform an inspection the way I want to and is help I can do without. It's nice that somebody is willing to run around the house doing some of the mundane tasks like setting thermostats. But I'm a creature of habit and I have a set routine for the way I go about things in a house. If somebody is handling all the thermostat settings for me, I may completely forget about going back to the thermostat after the HVAC system has already been inspected and I may not even recall for sure where the thermostat was located in the house.
Something I see every so often is a hot water boiler for a heating system that has no standing pressure on the pressure gauge. In a vacant house where nobody has been living, sometimes somebody will drain all the water out of the boiler and risers. Allowing somebody to turn up a thermostat on a dry system without ever looking at the boiler could mean a cracked boiler. And who's gonna be on the hook for that?
I'm perfectly happy being a control freak at my inspections and preferring to do everything myself. And please don't ask if you can "see my flashlight" to look at something or borrow a screw driver or some other tool so you can attempt an on-the-spot repair of something minor. I inspect, you watch and listen.
"It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey
05-20-2011, 02:31 PM #5
Were you carrying a reliable low level carbon monoxide monitor or alarm? If not, why not? If this doesn't make the case for it, I don't know what does.
BTW, what were you actions upon discovery of this situation? Did you immediately shut it down? Order the immediate evacuation of anybody else in the home? Call the gas utility? Get a professional combustion analyzer and take readings inside? Open exterior doors and windows to ventilate the house? Did you call EMS or go directly to an ED to be examined by a licensed physician and have a carboxyhemoglobin level drawn on you? If not, why?
Again, this isn't just a minor mistake, it is criminal negligence and reckless endangerment on the part of whomever pulled those vents and on the sellers who left it like this.
Sorry but I would be documenting the helll out of this and speaking to a lawyer if a physian's report indicated a Dx of carbon monoxide poisoning in the slightest.
Benjamin, thank God you made it out alive. I pray you have no lasting ill efffects from your exposure.
Keep the fire in the fireplace.
05-20-2011, 03:33 PM #6
I pulled the plug as soon as I saw it. The clients were with me outside (furnace was accessed from the exterior). I went back in and opened doors and windows.
It was the agent and his handyman who "got the furnace up and running" for the seller who hasn't seen the property for several years which is why I was a bit upset at the agent.
The agent and handyman had been working in the house most of the day. They appeared to be alive so I figured we were pretty safe. I kept an eye on the client's little poodle to see if it keeled over.
My trusty CO meter was where it always is... in the truck. That will change.
Bob, you'll like this too. This was the vent for the other furnace (there were 2).
Last edited by Benjamin Thompson; 05-20-2011 at 03:39 PM.
05-23-2011, 05:49 AM #7
Des the Realtor now replace the canary??