Over the past several years investment property owners and home owners have taken a financial beating. For many this meant reducing or deferring maintenance on the building and components just to survive the economy.
Fortunately for investment property owners in the Silicon Valley Area, this year is a bit different, rents are up and occupancy is up. The higher occupancy and higher rents may create an opportunity for investment property owners to address some of the issues that have been put off or perhaps even upgrade their properties.
A good place to start that can affect the health and safety of your tenants and therefore reducing risk, is with the combustion appliances, this would include the HVAC equipment (specifically appliances that provide heating) and water heaters.
It is a bit of a relief to see the trend of investment property owners starting to address the combustion issues in their rentals. It is important to note from an owner's standpoint that some of the equipment we are pulling out of rentals makes us grateful that nothing serious happened to the tenant or the property before the change out in terms of CO poisoning and/or fires.
If you have been reading our blog you are likely aware of the importance of protecting the occupants from carbon monoxide (CO) gas in the home. If you are a landlord you are probably aware of the CO detector requirement. What you may not be aware of is that these CO detectors need to be changed every 5 years to be effective, after 5 years they are not as reliable.
A landlord called us because a tenant's furnace was not working. This was not an old furnace and when you first open up this furnace it appears that it had average wear and tear. You can not tell the condition of a furnace by simply checking under the front panel of the furnace.
(See behind the furnace panel - pictured to the right. It looks like regular wear and tear for a furnace of this age)
Our technician discovered that the inducer motor had failed. Upon inspection it was noted that the furnaces filter was severely plugged because the tenant had a couple of pets with hair. The tenant had also closed off almost all of the registers which is not good for the furnace, it shortens the life of the equipment. Adding insult to injury, this particular flue was not to today's standards, it was undersized. Building codes change fairly often, so it isn't clear if the furnace was originally installed to code or not but what we do know is that the restricted flue, along with the dirty filter and the closed registers compromised this furnace. Basically the Furnace was being choked off of air flow - the main reason for it's early demise.
When you use a visual scope on the furnace to view the heat exchanger to view the condition (part of the safety check) you would see that that at the bottom of the furnace there were large holes with a crack. The heat exchanger was literally blown out. By the looks of the heat exchanger, it appears that flames were coming through the holes in the heat exchanger.
(Picture left is looking up into the furnace from the bottom of the furnace. It shows the holes in the heat exchanger on BOTH the right outside side and left outside side of the heat exchanger.)
This is the part of the furnace that is responsible for the transfer of heat into the home, it holds the hot air that contains gasses such as the deadly carbon monoxide (CO) gas.
(Pictured right - this is the outside of the left portion of the heat exchanger. A large amount of CO gasses could be passed into the rental through this crack and hole. It's important to note that both sides of the furnace has these holes and cracks. Flames could be shooting out the bottom of this furnace when operational with these holes. The condition of this furnace can cause both a fire and CO hazard.)
As soon as we explained the condition of this furnace the owner chose to immediately replace the furnace for the safety of his tenants. Cold Craft, Inc. takes the responsibility of protecting residents and the public from harmful combustion issues very seriously and in addition to that we protect the owner from risk. It can be harmful to defer maintenance on combustion appliances. Lucky for this tenant that we got to this before there was a real issue.
If you need help with temperature, contact Cold Craft, Inc.
408.374.7292 or INFO@COLDCRAFT.COM