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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    MN
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    6

    Default Can anyone identify this furnace?

    I am a renter, but my landlord has proven rather unresponsive, though he's willing to cut my rent when I fix things...

    Anyway, just turned on the furnace and it smells horribly of cigarette smoke. Figured I'd look at the furnace and see what I can figure out.

    I think It's a Green Colonial model 930, made by Green Foundry and Furnace Co, of Des Moines Iowa. Beyond that, I know nothing. Any idea what it might be capable of in BTU, or what the efficiency might be?

    This is the back of the blower. I think it's an add-on, and that it was originally a convection furnace. From this view, the wheel turns clockwise, which I think is wrong. The green box to the right is the furnace, and the stack going up goes to some air return vents throughout the house.
    IMG_20141004_205351.jpg.small.jpg

    This is the front of the furnace. I think it's a coal furnace that was converted to gas.
    IMG_20141004_235322.jpg.small.jpg

    This is the fan controller. When I've found pictures online, it seems to be based on a pair of mercury switches.
    IMG_20141004_235350.jpg.small.jpg

    Thanks,
    - Alex

    Inspection Referral

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Caledon, Ontario
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    The furnace is well past its life expectancy, way beyond.
    Its actually dangerous and your landlord should spring for replacement!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    MN
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    6

    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    The furnace is well past its life expectancy, way beyond.
    Its actually dangerous and your landlord should spring for replacement!
    Is my guess that it's a coal furnace that was converted to gas correct? The house was built in 1890. Could that furnace be original to the house?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    I don't think the furnace is from that circa. But it was likely a gravity furnace meaning their was never a blower on it, its been converted from gravity to forced air.

    The fact the pulley, motor, etc are on outside of the furnace sure looks like a conversion.

    Do you know when the last time the furnace was inspected/serviced by a licenced technician?


  5. #5
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    Feb 2009
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    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    1) If warm air is coming out of the heat registers, the fan is turning the right way.

    2) That furnace is the lowest of low efficiency. The age and specs are irrelevant at this point.

    I'll bet it is older than your landlord.
    That is, it was there when he bought the building.

    The heat exchanger needs to be inspected. If it is rusted through somewhere, combustion gas will be leaking into the heated air. A heating professional will probably condemn that old relic as a bad risk and a waste of money to fix.

    The cigarette smell is return air drawn from your neighbor's apartments. The filter(s) are probably not filtering, if they are there at all. Look for filters in the return air duct.

    If tha landlord is unresponsive, tell him you think you are all getting gassed and are afraid somebody's baby is going to die.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 10-08-2014 at 09:00 AM. Reason: A smiley for Garry
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    ..............Tell your landlord you think you are all getting gassed and are afraid somebody's baby is going to die.
    Really John, is that what you put in your reports? A lie just to get attention.
    ====

    Alex, Please don't use John's stupid suggestion to lie to your Landlord, bad idea on many levels.

    I and others are assuming this is a 2 or more unit property. If not then it is a different scenario.

    Your concern is: "Anyway, just turned on the furnace and it smells horribly of cigarette smoke. " I have a feeling that if your Landlord is truly as opposed just not responsive to your desired level, you may not have much recourse to the situation. Unless your lease has something about the building being "smoke free" or something that would be directed toward living conditions and air quality.

    There are filters such as a "carbon filters" that will remove the cigarette odor. Which may be your only recourse, since furnace replacement will do nothing to stop cigarette odor unless a filter system is added onto the new system. Another idea are filters that can be adapted to the registers in the apartment not the best method yet an idea to consider.

    It is also possible that with the furnace fan on it is changing the pressure gradients in your apartment causing the odors from another apartment to be drawn into yours.

    It would be prudent for you to have the heat exchanger checked. Also, you should have a CO detector in your apartment for your own of mind and safety.


  7. #7
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    Feb 2009
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    Southern Vancouver Island
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Really John, is that what you put in your reports? A lie just to get attention.
    ====
    This is not an inspection report. It is about a neglected furnace. It should be getting service once a year and it obviously is not.
    I am afraid someone could be getting gassed. That is no lie.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  8. #8
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    This is not an inspection report. It is about a neglected furnace. It should be getting service once a year and it obviously is not.
    I am afraid someone could be getting gassed. That is no lie.
    "Could be" and "are", very different. You recommend to state false information (a lie) to the landlord. Is it any different in any other situation such as a HI report?? A lie is a lie.

    Furnace may or may not have been serviced, we have no knowledge. Age would be a reason for heightened concern for its operation. Recommending its operation be verified so that it does not have a safety issue would be a good recommendation.

    But, recommending "....tell him you think you are all getting gassed and are afraid somebody's baby is going to die." is wrong. The tenant has no idea, you have no idea and I have no idea of condition. Suggesting to the landlord the ramifications of the furnace not being maintained and the reasons for concern would be the better method. Getting hysterical and making things up will not promote a good relationship.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    MN
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    6

    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    I've not gotten ahold of the landlord yet. There is a CO detector in my unit, and I assume everyone else's as well. There are a total of 3 units in this house. Somehow, each unit has its own outside door and separate addresses.

    I've read, elsewhere, that consumer CO detectors are only for catastrophic failures, and that they won't detect consistent low levels of CO which can still be dangerous.

    Given that I live in Minnesota, can someone tell me the exact name of the documentation I should be asking for?

    Thanks,
    - Alex


  10. #10
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    Feb 2008
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    Caledon, Ontario
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Asbestos patch material on furnace doors and asbestos on ductwork.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    MN
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    There is asbestos on the ductwork, but it looks well sealed to me.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Doesn't look sealed to me, it looks like its torn and I can see a ragged piece hanging from the ductwork on the right.


  13. #13
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    Oct 2014
    Location
    MN
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Doesn't look sealed to me, it looks like its torn and I can see a ragged piece hanging from the ductwork on the right.
    Oh, I hadn't looked at that part. It's sealed on the round pipes, but not on the rectangular ducts. The ragged piece hanging down is duct-tape, but I did snap this picture, while wearing a 3M 8210pa1 mask:

    IMG_20141008_172615.jpg.small.jpg


  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    eastpoint fl
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    [QUOTE=.... Also, you should have a CO detector in your apartment for your own of mind and safety.[/QUOTE]

    That needs to be gold-starred. Important suggestion.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Stacy, MN
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Alex,
    What city are you in? They may have a rental inspection program. I was a housing inspector in Richfield almost 20 years ago.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Alex,
    What city are you in? They may have a rental inspection program. I was a housing inspector in Richfield almost 20 years ago.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Not sure how large your municipality is, but you could give the Building Inspection Dept. a call and they might have Housing Code inspectors that take care of rentals. Or, you might have to go to a County level, but the local Gov't would be the first step and should provide you direction.

    You are correct on the CO detector, they go off at higher levels. I need to read up on it, if it's current, but at one time alarms didn't activate until 70ppm and after 1-4 hours of exposure, above 70ppm is when most people begin to feel symptoms. And, manufactures could not build digital display units with measures below 30ppm and be UL listed.

    But, the World Health Organization says to limit exposure to an avg. of 9ppm over 8 hours and below 25ppm for one hour. OSHA pushes it up to 50ppm over 8 hours.

    http://www.coheadquarters.com/ZerotoMillion1.htm

    Carbon Monoxide (CO) | Indoor Air | US Environmental Protection Agency

    Carbon monoxide detector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    FL, TX
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    137

    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kleisch View Post
    You are correct on the CO detector, they go off at higher levels. I need to read up on it, if it's current, but at one time alarms didn't activate until 70ppm and after 1-4 hours of exposure, above 70ppm is when most people begin to feel symptoms. And, manufactures could not build digital display units with measures below 30ppm and be UL listed.

    But, the World Health Organization says to limit exposure to an avg. of 9ppm over 8 hours and below 25ppm for one hour. OSHA pushes it up to 50ppm over 8 hours.

    http://www.coheadquarters.com/ZerotoMillion1.htm

    Carbon Monoxide (CO) | Indoor Air | US Environmental Protection Agency

    Carbon monoxide detector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Great information Mike,
    If WHO said so then they MUST be able to provide a proper CO detector that meets thier requirments and alarms accordingly and meets all manufacturing and insurance requirements for production and UL certification, Right?

    I agree that this heater is probably so ineficient that is warrants replacing on that basis alone. The real issue for the owner is the asbestos clean up. The owner woudl save a lot.

    I might suggest that a monitor like this one be used, it alarms at 35ppm.
    SALE - BW Honeywell GasAlert Clip Extreme CO Monitor GA24XT-M - $90.00 - - PKSafety.com

    This is 3X the WHO value suggested more or less. It is cheap enough and battery lasts long enough to be reasonable and is moveable around a home for testing purposes.

    If there is any consistant CO that a good monitor can document and if it only shows CO during use, then the unit has failed and is dangerous, period.

    BTW, the electric motor looks pretty new, but I would bet it was replaced by the owner or a handiman not a furnace specialist with a full evaluation of the system.

    If all else fails, and if the tenants can find out who the mortgage lender is, then they can write a letter to the insurer through the mortgage lender. I would think that would resolve the issue in very short order. (think outside the box!) The lender and insurer both have vested interest in this matter and the owner never needs to know that anyone ever wrote them.


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    St Paul, MN
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    1,628

    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    It's a converted gravity coal furnace. The return air ductwork and blower were added. The furnace is most likely original to the home. Estimated efficiency would be approximately 30 to 40%. There may or may not be a filter in the return air ductwork, usually near the blower motor.

    The ductwork has an asbestos wrap. The patching around the front door and water chamber (above the door) is concrete mortar. These were required to be sealed when converted to gas.

    Since the furnace was recently turned on for the first time this heating season, it's pretty normal for the air to smell like burnt dust or even cigarette smoke if there are smokers in the building. This usually subsides after a day or two. These old units seldom have problems with the heat exchangers as they don't produce the BTUs like today's forced air furnaces.

    That being said, the unit is beyond it's life span by about 50 years and the exposed blower motor / belt is a safety hazard. I would think if the house is in Minneapolis or St. Paul and has a rental license, the licensing inspector would require a yearly safety certification on the furnace and require the exposed motor / belt be shielded.

    You could try to locate the filter and change it. If the smell continues and your landlord does nothing, call the city and speak with their rental licensing department.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Mankato, by the way. The rental inspector came out, and said he wasn't qualified to determine if the asbestos was a problem as-is, but if they were replacing the furnace, the all the asbestos would have to be thoroughly removed. I imagine that's why the furnace hasn't been replaced.

    There are no children in the house so, while the belt is certainly dangerous, there's noone here stupid enough to go near it when it's moving.

    There's no filter in the furnace system at all. The cigarette smoke smell has pretty much gone away, but our upstairs neighbors still really like their cheap weed. My bedroom often smells like skunk at night. That's with a HEPA filter running next to the bed and carbon filters velcro'd over the furnace vents.

    Back to the furnace, is there anywhere that an inspection report is supposed to be posted, or should I ask the landlord about that directly?


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    St Paul, MN
    Posts
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    Default Re: Can anyone identify this furnace?

    Not sure about Mankato, but here in the cities the owner doesn't have to post the inspection report. Just a valid copy of their rental license.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

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