That's the issue, we're in the wrong either way. If I go out and disable a unit the HO could just let their pipes freeze and then file a civil suit for property damage. When it goes to court there is no official information backing us up. In the same situation you could just turn off the switch, HO turns it back on and someone gets hurt or there is property damage and they sue you, in court there is no official information backing you up.
Originally Posted by 2141
We're put in no mans land and just have to hope that we are never in court in the first place and that if we are we get a judge that takes our side, crap shoot at best.
As for you VS the company... When it's time for heads to role, you really think they will stick out their necks to protect yours? If you work for a company that has no policy on the books in an employee manual, good luck.
I ran a call this morning. The furnace was an old natural draft best I could tell from the serial # it was from 79'. The blower was not comming on so I explained to the customer that I need to insure that the furnace would be safe to operate before I even think of trying to fix or diagnose why the blowers not working. ( the tough part was the customer had a home warranty, the warranty company couldn't get anyone there today and the customer agreed to pay for my service and deal with warranty on there own). I used my visible detection kit and found a crack in the HX. I told customer that system is unsafe to operate and theft it disabled/ disassembled. They asked me about the house and pipes freezing I told them that I understand your point but with the liability of the situation I cannot allow the furnace to run. I quoted them a price on a new furnace and told them to keep in mind that we do not deal with the warranty company. I was just wanting to get them heat and provide them with service that the warranty obviously couldn't. They seemed to understand payed me for the call and said they will check out there options on Monday or whatever day the warranty company decides to help. With any luck they will call back. Personally I think I would rather have to deal with a law sute on some frozen pipes rather than a dead customer.
I know one thing for sure. Tomorrow I will be telling my boss and co worker that our rep I believe is full of crap and I am not going to leave a furnace running like that again. I read through some of ANSI regulations but still did not find where they say over 400 PPM to shut furnace down but this still goes against from what I was taught and practiced. I know when I was in Minnesota I was backed by the city, state and gas companies that thiswas potentially dangerous and not to leave furnace running. I did however found a document under testo that anything over 400 PPM needed to repaired immediately or shut unit down and they said under ANSI regulation. Long story short I will no longer leave unit running gas cock shut off as well as power.
as far as liability goes, turn off gas cock and power switch. make note on work order that furnace not safe to operate. when u leave and homeowner turns gas cock and power on....not your problem.....
I only do this when homeowner being absolute dickhead. go ahead and kill yerself....my concience is clear!
Please, Please Please......keep the Factory Smoke in the Wires!!!!!
Is it Rum'Oclock yet???
Sometimes discussions on here are a matter of opinion this one is not the ANSI Z21.47 standard for gas-fired central furnaces allows up to 400 ppm of CO in the vent. This is the maximum allowable CO and should be in the 100 ppm range as mentioned on a previous thread. Even if your area does not have applicable code I would not want to be in court defending myself after someone expired due to CO above the ANSI level.
The only problem with this is that in many areas HVAC techs are not code enforcement officers. Therefore we have no right to permanently disable someone's personnel property. In this area we shut off at the switch and t-stat and get signature next to our recommendation not to operate. We also place a warning tag on the power switch.
Originally Posted by Tecman1
2 things, first, Leaving a 90% furnace running with that much CO in the flue is nuts, as someone could walk in front of the flue, get a nice healthy dose of CO, and get sick.
Second, We had a Carrier furnace that had a severely plugged secondary, running thousands of PPM CO, and you could smell the formaldahydes in the whole house, and as best I could tell some of the fumes were getting back in the house from outside. We were replacing the furnace that morning, so I didn't delve into to much, other than I told the installers so they could make sure the flues where in the proper location. I was just there to get a CO flue reading for the warranty paperwork to Carrier.
Which brings up my second point. Carrier/Bryant has two failure modes for their secondary heat exchanger, rusted/leaking, and plugged. With plugged, if the CO in the flue is over 200, you can automatically condemn the HX right then and there. This is all documented in the Carrier/Bryant bulletins that details whats covered and whats not as ordered by a judge in a class action lawsuit. If you Bryant distributor doe not no this, they really have there heads shoved up their rears.
Hi, my name is Glenn, and I'm a Toolaholic!
Payne also has the same problem as carrier, never seen a Bryant but I'm guessing its the same design?
Glenn yes they told us if it is plugged with over 200 ppm they would not cover warranty but if it is rusted and has like a white ash on coils then they warranty it. I was shocked that he told me to leave furnace running with 1392 ppm in exhaust. I tossed and turned all weekend just in awe with the rep comment.
Joe yes same design and parts. ICP products on furnace is same as Carrier Bryant and Payne
There is no national enforcement that gives HVAC techs the power to disable a unit without the permission of the HO.
Originally Posted by Tecman1
If you disable the unit against the wishes of the HO you could face a civil suit unless otherwise stated by local code departments.
The only people given this power are code enforcement officials.
I wish it was cut and dry, that every where in USA we were on the same page but it's not, it's many shades of gray, not black and white.
That's just messed up. The bulletins talk about how plugged heat exchangers are failed heat exchangers and need to be replaced. I can only suggest you go to the top person at your distributor, and after that you might have to start some trouble at Bryant corporate.
Originally Posted by mrlighturfire
Hi, my name is Glenn, and I'm a Toolaholic!
We have discussed Tag Out/ Lock Out or Red Tagging extensively here in the past so please search the archives first. Having said that, I will try to cover it again.
I worked for a major hearth appliance mfr. in quality assurance and we had extensive discussions on this that were baked into a company policy. This mfr. has owned distribution that sells and installs their brands for new construction so we needed a policy. It was the opinion of the corporate attorneys that we disable any offending equipment by two means--the fuel source and some form of electrical controls. In each case, it should take ordinary tools to place the appliance back into operation. Simply flipping a switch or turning on a gas cock was not deemed sufficient disablement to protect a homeowner from themselves. We developed our own red tags and held a class on their implementation. This program included a white board in the service dept. wall noting all active lock outs and a separate file on these cases. That way you were reminded of that case every day as being outstanding.
Now, the big question is when do you pull the trigger on such a drastic move? You look to your industry standards to define what is a defect or abnormal operating condition then what is hazardous about it and to what degree with what consequences. For instance, ANSI has a std. for alert words, which have been confirmed in many courts now that give us our trigger:
Notice- issues not involving safety but just FYI
Caution- something may go wrong and if it does, some damages and possibly person injury may result
Warning- something probably will go wrong and when it does, serious damages and significant personal injuries will result
Danger!- something is about to go wrong and when it does, fire, major property damage and or death or personal injury will result.
Do you see the escalation of the probability, the severity and degree of injury? Only a condition of Danger! warrants TOLO. If you have CO exfiltration into the living compartment as a result of excessive CO in the combustion chamber or venting system, then you have a Danger! condition. However, it the venting is intact such that even a high CO will not meet the Danger condition, then TOLO is not justified just yet and a Warning! condition exists. A blocked chimney is Danger but a cracked chimney liner in an otherwise intact and venting chimney is Warning!.
The best situation is where the homeowner gives signed permission to TOLO. The rub comes when they argue, fight or threaten you. In this case, you have several options. You can call the municipal Authority Having Jurisdiction and ask him to respond at once. You can and should also call the local Fire Marshal because in most states, he has more power than an AHJ. Then, you can call a utility to lock out a meter or LP supplier to disconnect a tank.
As for freezing pipes, let me ask you this: you live in a freezing climate so you know if the heat is off there is a high probability of pipes freezing, right? So, what options or alternatives do you have? Well, you can offer to loan a few electric space heaters to keep the pipes from freezing and heat the bedrooms. You can do an entire house for around $100 of cheap heaters. Make sure you choose the location where to place then so they don't have a fire hazard from being too close to combustibles and test the circuit with an analyzer to ensure that outlet and circuit are suitable including proper grounding and less than 5% voltage drop. Leave the instruction booklets with the occupants and have them sign off as acknowledging responsibility for reading and observing these instructions.
If there was a sudden and accidental incident that caused damage to the home, then they have an insurable loss under your typical HO-3 homeowner's insurance policy unless it is a specifically named peril excluded. Have them call their insurance agent to put them up for the night in a hotel. If not, you can also call the Red Cross and often they will find shelter for one night.
Now for the fun part-documentation. You need to blast away with dozens of photos. Ideally, you are documenting pics of the conditions as found before you touched it, then what repairs or modifications and how you left it. When taking instrument readings either photograph the screen/ face or print out results if you have a combustion analyzer. Be sure to set the time and date stamp. On your paperwork you need to document those three spheres: conditions as found, what you did then how you left it. Have a paragraph right next to where the customer signs where you document any warnings to the client and any recommendations. What counts in court is not what you wrote on this paperwork the next day back at the office but what's on the homeowner's copy. Now, when TOLO, I recommend you attach a photocopy of this form to a Certified Letter Return Receipt to the AHJ, Fire Marshal, and Utility.
Now, your Red Tag should note in detail the details of the installation, make, model, serial #, the defect, the danger, the consequences if not repaired/ corrected and what the correction must be. It should include a disclaimer that if they fail to have you inspect the repairs you cannot be held responsible but that your re-inspection will be at your regular shop rates. That way if they get Hector the Hack to put it back into operation and there's a problem, you are pretty much in the clear.
Now, what about getting arrested, spanked, or talked dirty to for performing a TOLO against a homeowner's wishes? How many techs have gone to jail? Been sued? Well, I'm only aware of a very small few that were sued when pipes broke but in each of those cases the technician failed to provide alternatives such as working through the night, providing space heaters, or contacting the insurance company. Our company had never been sued for this. However, we had been sued in a number of cases where techs failed to TOLO and the occupants claimed they got sick from continued operation. In each of those cases, the tech merely turned off the power switch and in some shut off the fuel with no pics and no written documentation. This is called "failure to warn" and is the hottest area of tort law. Our attorneys assured us if we ever did get sued, they could get us off the hook for erring on the side of caution. However, erring on the side of monetary costs is a good way to lose your butt.
I advise you to copy this and review it with your attorney then your AHJ, Fire Marshal, and utilities.
Keep the fire inside the fireplace.