January 2001 Edition

Carbon Monoxide Safety?

Is it really a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector or is it just a ploy to make more sales?
Early on the morning of May 5th, a Long Island physician returned home after working the late shift to find six friends and family members had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The cause of this tragedy was a heating system that was both improperly installed and poorly maintained. A carbon monoxide detector, which might have averted the disaster, had been disabled the summer before because the alarm kept going off and waking everyone up.
According to the American Lung Association, nearly 300 people die every year from exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) in their homes. Thousands more are sickened enough to require medical attention. Low levels of exposure to carbon monoxide can cause fatigue; higher levels cause flu like symptoms such as headaches and nausea.

CO Detector

Any fuel-burning appliance that is not properly vented or maintained can be a source of carbon monoxide. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in the home, the American Lung Association (212-315-8700; www.lungusa.org) recommends taking the following steps:
l Make sure that appliances are installed according to manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes.
l Have all fuel-burning appliances, chimneys and flues inspected and serviced by a qualified technician every year.
l Make sure furnaces have adequate intake of outside air. Never have a furnace or water heater installed in a closet without having a louvered door or combustion air ducts located inside the closet.
l Install a carbon monoxide detector that meets current UL standard 2034 (carbon monoxide detectors made before 1998 tend to be overly sensitive and are subject to false alarms).
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (800-536-0118; www.csia.org) recommends each home should have at least two working carbon monoxide detectors; one near the furnace and one near the sleeping areas. As with smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors should be tested monthly to make sure they are working properly.

Source: Fine Homebuilding November 2000


Water Heater Dip Tubes?

What is the status of the Water Heater Dip Tube Class Action?
The class action expired on December 31, 2000. The manufacturers are no longer liable for defective dip tubes. For the people with water heaters manufactured between August 1993 and October 1996, if you experience problems as a result of dip tubes, you will have to pay for any repairs yourself.

Dip Tube

If you notice a decrease in the amount of hot water, the efficiency of your water heater, or have particles blocking your faucets, your water heater's dip tube may have disintegrated. To perform a quick test, disconnect water lines on your washing machine and look for any white or gray particles in screens. If you find particles in the cold water line, they are probably not from your hot water heater. If you find particles in the hot water line or in the screen on your faucet, put them is standing water to see if they float. Particles that float are from the dip tube. Another test is to apply heat to the particles. If the chips are from the dip tube, they will melt and the smoke will smell like plastic.

Surging Toilets?

The toilet in the bathroom on the second floor of our new home frequently surges, and the tank refills without being flushed. We’ve replaced the float mechanism twice already but still have the problem. Is there any way to solve this mystery?
Peter Hemp, a plumber in Albany, California and author of "Installing and Repairing Plumbing Fixtures" (The Taunton Press, 1994), replies: "I assume that by the word surge, you are indicating a running noise rather than a full-flush cycle. If this is the case, the problem is that water is slowly leaving the tank and flowing into the toilet bowl. When enough water has escaped, the float-activated fill valve allows more water into the tank (that’s the running noise you are hearing) until the valve shuts off again.
Unfortunately, replacing the float mechanism won’t cure the problem. Water is leaking from the tank because of a faulty flush-valve seal. All toilets have some sort of flush valve that keeps water in the tank between flushes. Depressing the handle on the toilet lifts the valve, allowing water to enter the bowl and flush it clean. You can test the flush valve by adding a drop or two of dye or food coloring to the water in the tank after a flush. Let the toilet stand for a few hours. If the flush valve is bad, the water in the bowl should turn the same color as the water in the tank.
Once you’ve determined that the flush valve is in fact bad, shut the toilet water-supply valve (under the tank) and flush the toilet. Remove the faulty flush valve and replace it with a valve made by the toilet manufacturer to ensure a perfect fit. Before you go to your plumbing-supply house, get the make and model number of your toilet, which should be cast into the back inside wall of the tank."

Source: Fine Homebuilding October/November 1998


If you have a question, change of address, comment, home tip or would like to send Home Tips to your clients, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can E-Mail your questions to us at rodharrison@christianbuildinginspectors.com. We reserve the right to edit questions for length.

GE Dishwasher Recall

If You Own A GE Dishwasher With A Model Number:
GSD 500D, GSD 500G, GSD 540
HDA 467, HDA 477, HDA 487
Call 1-800-599-2929

Quote Of The Month

"Where is home? Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at their own pace."
- Vernon G. Baker

A Tip Of The Hat To:

Jennifer H. Lewis

Re/Max Greater Atlanta

5163 Roswell Road

Atlanta, Georgia 30342

**** Thank You****


Warranty Recall Chek