Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    167

    Not the worst I've seen, but still deserves shame

    I ran a call a few days ago to an apartment where the tenant had her CO monitor go off on two occasions. The building is a late 1880s 3 storied tenement-like dwelling with an unconditioned dirty storage basement. A buddy of mine in the trade had gone there the previous night for a no-heat call and found that the line voltage was run through a light gauge extension cord without a ground plug and that the polarity was reversed. But he found no source of CO. He also found that the return grill in the floor was open to the basement and that the return duct was a singular length of uncapped 8*20*5' pulling air from the unfinished space.

    By the time I got there someone had taken two flexible 8" rounds and tied them from the return up into an aluminum cooking pan, which was shoved into the hole in the floor of the tenant's apartment. At the base of the return drop is a cut out of about 14*25 off the right side of the blower wheel.

    The furnace is a newer 80% 66k btu Goodman. Immediately at the left of the unit is a natural draft 40k btu water heater with a second water heater further into the rear of the basement. Both are piped into a dedicated brick chimney (the 2nd waterheater has its own chimney). There are glaring issues which anyone can spot readily. A simple glance at the proximity of the water heater to the furnace and return, broken gas cock for WH, furnace gas cock behind plenum, insufficient return, the extension cord etc. You get the point.

    So I covered the 14*25 cutout at the side of the return and watched the combustion. None of my numbers from the furnace and both water heaters were inordinate. I did make an adjustment at her stove, which hit 300ppm starting cold and corrected that. At this point I am comfortable with the numbers, so it is time to address the code issues. The metal repair is rather simple. Maybe five or six hours at a relaxed pace with minimal supplies. Yet this is where I got the brush-off. Every concern or suggestion I had seemed to float right past the property owner. She insists that the furnace was installed by "sheet metal contractors", and that the gas was piped by union guys and that there is nothing wrong with taking air from the basement: "air from upstair or air from downstairs, what's the difference", she told the tenant.

    The tenant has paid me for that visit. She will be getting a low level CO monitor soon. The installers are apparently coming back to discuss this, but they say there is nothing wrong. I have offered to fix the entire thing for free if those installers can provide me with a letter stating their position that the installation as it was when I got there meets code, with their letterhead and license # on it.

    I am not expecting to hear back from them.

    The thing which really pisses me off is the smug disregard the property owner had for any suggestion I had that this was an unsafe install. She seemed to approach me as if I was trying to take her for a ride. Thank goodness that phones take pictures

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    NE wisconsin
    Posts
    404
    Typical rental, landlord doesn't have to live there and it isn't their life on the line so all they care about is getting it to work as cheaply as possible. It's too bad code violations aren't punishable by firing squad.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    3,618
    Is that mold on the walls in pic 3?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Delaware
    Posts
    3,824
    Sort of a contemporary feel with that exposed duct. Knuckleheads.
    Always here

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,756
    DIY gone wild.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    167
    I didn't notice any mold. I think I would have notice if it were. The landlady hovered me for most my time there so I didn't get to absorb what I was looking at. I could have misses it. The only silver lining here is that the tenant is aware of the implications of a co monitor going off and she wants to address it one way or the other.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    3,618
    Looks like mold on the walls (the black stuff) behind the water heater in pic 3

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago IL
    Posts
    167
    I'll ask the tenant to get someone to look at that. I've pissed the landlord off. I don't get the feeling she's letting me back in.

    The tenant sent me a message saying the cut out in the basement was sealed with sheet metal last night. The landlord seems to think the issues are resolved. I won't be the one who has to work on the water heater, at least.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,448
    Looks like DIY. 2' long gas pipe coupled in on first picture still has barcode on it from home depot. If landlord is that cheap, no way they would have paid for "union guys" to pipe it. Would have found cheaper company with lower labor rates.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Orange County, in a Galaxy far far away...
    Posts
    278
    Hack tastic.

    Clearly not installed by anyone remotely connected to hvac.

    I'm no lawyer but I do know landlords get sued and lose over mold and CO.
    I would have a better filter than a poly disposable in there too.

    90% of landlords I refuse to work with, it usually involves fixing something the cheaper guy fixed.
    My guess would be a handyman installed this thinking he's done a Great job. Equipment purchase off Internet and sheet metal side job for a union guy, maybe.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Spokane, Washington
    Posts
    124
    The only silver lining is actually exposed galvanized sheet metal.

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