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  1. #1
    Mamie Martinson's Avatar
    Mamie Martinson Guest

    Default Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    We had a new furnace/AC installed recently and I'm worried that the furnace exhaust is coming back into my house. Before I speak to my husband about it, I need someone else to verify it's a potential hazzard or an illegal setup.

    When I initially saw the vents (black pvc) coming out the side of the wall, I thought they just weren't finished. The AC was completed first as we did the install when it was still warm enough the furnace wasn't needed. There was a second installation date pending and I figured it would get "finished" and in my mind that meant the exhaust vent would go up above the roof line.

    Our basement vent fan is the off white square nearby. There are two black vents and they were not there prior to the furnance/AC install. One thing I noticed shortly after the install is that all my plants nearby keeled over, but that could have been from trampling or the heat.

    Is the one facing down possibly an air-intake pipe? If so, I don't think they should be that close without an up-pipe for the exhaust because of the possibility of drawing the exhaust fumes into the "fresh-air" exchange.

    My cat has her "kitty tower" right near the large window to the left and she's been very ill once since the install. She was throwing up and lost about 1lb in a week. We thought she might have gotten into poison somehow. She's recovered, but this morning when I smelled fumes near that window I wondered if she isn't our little "canary" telling us something is not right here.

    Last week I slept through my alarm (past noon) and I've been groggy lately, but I was thinking that is me adjusting to working 1-10pm shift and fall until this morning. I had my husband get someone to remove our gas stove from the '70's and I thought I was done with this kind of questioning.

    Help.

    Mamie Martinson

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Clearances (as pictured) appear to be proper.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Hagarty View Post
    Clearances (as pictured) appear to be proper.
    .
    Agreed HVAC Articles - Venting Today Part One
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    The white exhaust vent and black air intake should be a minimum of 3' apart.

    Since ABS is no longer allowed to be used for intake and exhaust and if you change or add to the ABS I believe you have to upgrade to PVC piping.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post

    The white exhaust vent and black air intake should be a minimum of 3' apart.

    .
    .
    Raymond,

    Do you consider this Exhaust as a Direct Air Inlet?
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Billy,
    No I consider the air intake for the furnace to be a direct air inlet.


  7. #7
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    Waterloo, Ontario
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Your furnace looks like it has a sealed combustion system so the air that comes into the inlet will not enter your living space - unless there is an opening somewhere in the venting system.

    Based on the symptoms you described, and to put your mind at ease, I would recommend that you have the carbon monoxide (CO) levels in your house measured right away. At the very least, you should always have a functioning CO alarm in your house.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Mamie,

    Each Manufacture has Specific Installation Instructions, the Booklet is Required to remain with the owner .

    Usually attached on the Equipment.

    This is The Only Correct Way to Install This Equipment including the venting.
    .
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  9. #9
    Mamie Martinson's Avatar
    Mamie Martinson Guest

    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    OK, guys, I'm listening, but I'm not quite sure I "get" all of it.

    First of all, WHAT exactly am I looking at here?

    Two exhaust vents and Zero intake vents or one of each? If it's one of each what prevents the intake from sucking the exhaust back in if they are side by side practically?

    Second, I get that newer models are not needing traditional clearance, but I have 1 window directly above these vents and two windows fairly close by and also above. Isn't that a factor in the equation?

    Third, I found my paperwork and maybe this makes more sense to you guys than me. The furnace is a Rheem RGM06MAES - 2 stage variable speed (Not sure I'm reading the handwriting of the sales man on that model number - RGRM06EMAES shows up elsewhere)

    Rheem Classic Series: Up to 95% AFUE 2-Stage V.S. ECM Series

    Rheem RGRM06EMAES Gas Furnace Upflow 2 Stage Variable Speed 95% - 60,000 BTU

    And thanks for your help!

    Mamie


  10. #10
    Mamie Martinson's Avatar
    Mamie Martinson Guest

    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Billy,

    Are these the "old" rules or the "newer" rules that would apply to my situation?

    From the HVAC article:

    Some of the typical requirements:

    Vent terminal must be at least 1 foot from any door, window, or gravity inlet into the building.

    The double pipe (Example: The vent and air intake terminals must be at the same height and their center lines must be between 12 and 36 inches apart. Both terminals must be on the same wall)

    All terminal bottoms must be 12 inches above normal snow line or no less than 12 inches above grade. (Note: it is often difficult to determine normal snow line)

    7 feet above public walkway

    Do not install directly above windows or doors

    The bottom of the vent terminal must be at least 3 feet above any forced air inlet located within 10 feet.

    A horizontal distance of at least 4 feet between the vent terminal and gas meters, electric meters, regulators and relief equipment. Do not install vent terminal over this equipment dues to condensate.

    Do not locate vent under decks.

    Top of vent terminal must be at least 5 feet below eves, soffits, or overhangs. Maximum depth of overhang is 3 feet.

    Vent terminal must be 6 feet from an inside corner.

    Be aware that condensate may freeze and cause damage to structures nearby.

    Install vent termination away from prevailing winds in excess of 40 MPH.

    Air intake must not be near possible combustion air contaminants.




    Last edited by Mamie Martinson; 11-25-2011 at 12:20 AM. Reason: Spacing

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mamie Martinson View Post
    Billy,

    Are these the "old" rules or the "newer" rules that would apply to my situation?

    From the HVAC article:
    .
    They are General as The Manufacturers Installation Instructions http://natureaircorp.com/downloads/r...structions.pdf are to be followed.

    Start @ page 20 and there is a good sketch on page 22 that shows clearances.

    It's a 56 page pdf and may take a few moments to open.
    .
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    How close is the window that is above the intake and flue pipe for the furnace? It looks like it is far enough away so it should not be an issue.

    If you have a concern of CO poisoning then you need to have the air tested in your home. I would get a industrial hygienist or an IAQ expert to come in and do a survey of the home if you have a concern about the air you are breathing. This is the only way to confirm what is going on with the air.

    It also looks like that basement vent is too close to the flue pipe for the furnace.

    Another thing is that the widow will not be open when the furnace is running; also the furnace was not running when the plants died in the summer so that is a moot point.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    No mention of potable hot water system.

    Would it be correct to assume a standard gas fired storage type gravity water heater (draft hood, Cat. I) has been orphaned? What corrections were made to accomodate same regarding venting?

    This "basement vent" what is it? Where does it origininate, and what else is in proximity of its origination? make up air? HRV? Clothes Dryer vent?

    The chimney present appears to be for a first floor fireplace - firebox masonry? factory built? insert? stove? wood burner? source of combustion air? This vent terminal and fresh air intake are at what elevation above the furnace exhaust and how many bends, elbows, turns, to get there and what distance (laterally and overall?). Appears to be quite old construction home (20's/30's bungalow, perhaps?) is that stucco on frame? what is the depth of the wall where there would most likely be yet another elbow (not sweep) transfering vertical to horizontal in the wall cavity (trap).

    To date, I know of NO ABS pipe manufacturer who has submitted their pipe or fittings for testing & approval for use as special or gas vent for Cat IV. I know of no gas appliance manufacturer who has submitted ABS manufactured gas venting componants to the required standards testing for APPROVALS or ACCEPTANCE for use as special gas vent.

    elbows as opposed to sweeps and would seem as per your descriptions that the "furnace" is located in a basement which is below grade and below the fireplace/chimney firebox.

    Air intakes, cleanouts, ash dumps, where for this fireplace.

    The projecting masonry fireplace/chimney creates an ALCOVE. The shadows suggest this alcove is exposed to the north, and if taken in the late morning or afternoon, suggest also exposed to the west (facing prevailing winds). The clearance from the masonry fireplace/chimney then would not appear to be correct.

    Condensate from the vent terminal is acidic.

    Is that sooting on the stucco or merely shadows? Fireplace/chimney inspection recently? Would it be correct to presume this exhaust terminal and fresh air/combustion air/dillution air intake alcove is/are exposed/facing to prevailing winds, i.e. western and northern exposure (and that the "basement vent" (clothes dryer exhaust?) is north of same?

    Did you recently "finish" the basement, close up, draft stop, insulate, replace windows, etc., construct partition walls or enclose equipment, laundry, etc. and/or rework the HVAC system so as to "condition" the basement, are their openings for return air in same?

    Did you have your duct and supply systems, etc. checked for balance and properly sealed esp. in the areas of the basement where other contaminants (other fuel burning mechanicals, appurtuances, appliances such as laundry areas, gas dlothes dryers, water heaters, etc.), negative pressure (clothes dryers, exhaust vents) are located? If for example you had copious Draft Hood spillage from orphaned water heater, running AC or fan only could recirculate leaky duct system's pickup of noxious throughout home from day one.

    The installer should have left the manuals, guides, etc. upon installation. See for example the attached from Rheem, especially pg. 2 warnings. Condensate drainage within exhaust system? AC coil? blocked? spillage? not trapped? Permitted installations, inspected? Concerns addressed to your licensed HVAC installing contractor? manufacturer? Inspected joints for "leakage", air, etc.? Caulking at penetrations to the cabinet, etc.? Not entirely clear if this particular "stainless steel HE" is actually a true sealed combustion chamber, since caulking is referenced for wire way penetrations to cabinet, etc..

    You might also refer to NFPA 90A, NFPA 90B, and NFPA 54, which have been referenced by the manufacturer. At 2 stage 60k seems considerable "upgrades" to older home's insulation, windows, air infiltration, etc. in Minnesota, even smaller home, high efficiency furnace, might be starving for air other appliances & makeup air esp. clothes dryer suspected "basement" exhaust "vent", and a first floor fireplace.

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 11-25-2011 at 11:40 AM. Reason: forgot attachment from Rheem :(

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mamie Martinson View Post
    My cat has her "kitty tower" right near the large window to the left and she's been very ill once since the install. She was throwing up and lost about 1lb in a week. We thought she might have gotten into poison somehow. She's recovered, but this morning when I smelled fumes near that window I wondered if she isn't our little "canary" telling us something is not right here.

    Last week I slept through my alarm (past noon) and I've been groggy lately, but I was thinking that is me adjusting to working 1-10pm shift and fall until this morning. I had my husband get someone to remove our gas stove from the '70's and I thought I was done with this kind of questioning.
    Maime,

    I will have to agree with Scott. Get someone to do an air quality test/survey. Here in CA, homes are required to have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm installed, and I suggest you purchase one for your home. Your symptoms should be told to your primary care physician along with information regarding your new furnace install. Also, talk to the veterinarian to find out if the cat's symptoms could be CO poisoning.

    The intake/exhaust install does not appear to be incorrect; but, there may be some other problem with the heating system.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Symptoms of CO poisioning

    Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

    As indicated by poster this is a new installation. If that is so ABS is no longer allowed and PVC (system 636) must be used, at least that is the new requirement up here in Canada.

    Last edited by Raymond Wand; 11-25-2011 at 12:19 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Odd Vent, but is it lethal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mamie Martinson View Post
    Two exhaust vents and Zero intake vents or one of each? If it's one of each what prevents the intake from sucking the exhaust back in if they are side by side practically?
    One pipe is to exhaust and the other is for fresh air intake. There can be a concern for the intake to pull the exhaust gases back into the furnace if the pipes are too close to each other. As already mentioned, those exhaust gases are very corrosive and can be long term bad news if drawn back into the furnace. There should be an installation manual (that you may not have been given) that will specify the clearances between these pipes. If it were my furnace I'd want the pipes further apart regardless of what the manual says.

    If Kitty was sick then perhaps a thorough evaluation should be performed - one that looks beyond the furnace's installation and operation.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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