Crappy rental property, owner calls stating maintenance is tired of re-lighting pilot light of furnace. Showed up and meet tenants and was taken back to an old cellar in the back of the home. No door just cement steps down into the dark. Waiting for my eyes to adjust to get my bearings I started to see green spots and felt woozy.
Been through CO and combustion training and have almost been wiped off the face of the earth years prior in a boiler room with large amounts of CO, that my spider senses triggered and I was out of that cellar.
Shut the gas off at the meter and grabbed my dedicated CO monitor. It has the verbal option which blurts out the ppm every minute or so. This has become my buddy in old boiler rooms hanging on the wall while I work.
At the door I get 30ppm, tape the end to a 10ft piece of PVC laying on the ground and insert it in the cellar and my buddy is chatting back from the darkness...2020ppm.
Tenant had a fan, held my breath and placed it at the base of steps and left it running for a few hours. In the home I was only getting about 20ppm in the bedrooms, but 70ppm in the kitchen closest to cellar....told tenants to leave until things settled down. THANK GOD, cellar is not directly under home, cellar door was broken and left open and what little flooring near this cellar was the kitchen with three layers of laminate, the place they married the cellar to the home, they busted through to the 1 foot crawler to run a few flex runs, this was ventilated or these tenants wouldn't be around.
Here is what I finally found when it was safe to enter.
1) New water heater was installed a week prior by this maintenance guy. Too tall, so maintenance guy dumped the diverter and just placed the flue pipe directly on top.
2) Old Lennox G12 must have been found somewhere, scrapped, and thrown in 4 inch flue dropped into the manufacturer 6 inch and taped off. All the exchangers sooted near closed...
3) Panels long gone, sheet metal used as blower door
Could go on and on.
Another rental property disaster diverted...so happy 99% of my stuff is commercial. Figure fate would have it that I was asked to look at this job instead of one of our newbies...don't think they would have had the experience to know CO poisoning, and tragedy could have happened.Our company replaced the furnace, water heater, and landlord learned a valuable lesson about cheap maintenance guys.