Deadly Furnace in Rental Home – Importance of Safety Inspections

Is it intrusive to be sure that your tenants and your property is safe?

Annual apartment or home inspections on rental properties are great at determining if your property is being cared for and what upcoming expenses you will run into or plan for, but there is another benefit and that is safety.

These inspections can look at door locks, cabinets, plumbing, etc, but what saved this family was a furnace safety inspection.

Often times tenants pay the utility bills and that can mean that tenants can come up with some pretty creative ways to save money and some of these ways can cost a lot to the landlord and even to the tenant.

The two pictures below show holes in the heat exchanger (this is on the bottom of the furnace - seen upon inspection only with a scope). This furnace is just about 10 years old and only about 2/3 way through it's usable life and not that old for furnaces but replacement should be considered at about 15+ years.

The reason why this notice to landlords is so important is why the furnace had these holes in the heat exchanger.  The rental home that this furnace came out of had tenants that paid the utility bills for the heating, hot water, etc.  This tenant decided to start closing down heating registers (you know those areas on the floor or up higher near the ceiling where the heat comes out) to save money.  They also did not change their furnace filter which at the time of our no heat appointment was completely clogged and choking off the furnace.

These holes in the heat exchanger were double trouble, they were introducing flames into the ductwork and also deadly Carbon Monoxide (CO).  This landlord made the call for a safety inspection and saved this family from fire or Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Let's tackle these issues in order, the registers... if you must close registers, we recommend keeping 60-70% of the registers in the open position - that is 6 or 7 of every 10 registers you have in the home.  Closing too many registers makes the furnace work harder and for every fifty cents your tenant saved closing down registers cost this owner hundreds.  Advise and inspect for registers that are closed down in your rental units, explain the fire nd carbon monoxide dangers of doing this.  Also Carbon Monoxide detectors need to be changed every 5 years.  they so not last very long.

The dirty clogged filter causes the furnace to be choked off and it will probably shut down the furnace if you also have registers closed off it will likely be a disaster waiting to happen.

clogged residential filter-resized-600

 

Sometimes handymen or other inexperienced repair people attempt the fix a furnace and end up disconnecting the very safety put in place to prevent fire or carbon monoxide issues in the home.  The furnace is not the place to cut corners on maintenance and repairs, because there could be deadly consequences.  By the way our most lucrative calls are when an inexperienced person dissembles a furnace thinking that they can fix it.  It takes a good 5+ years and school to be a good HVAC professional and not all of them can reassemble a furnace.

 

 

 

If you need help with temperature, contact Cold Craft, Inc.

408.374.7292 or INFO@COLDCRAFT.COM

 

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