CREIA Warns That Hazardous Exhaust Fumes May Leak From Furnace

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January 2, 2002 (Palm Springs, Calif) — The California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) cautions homebuyers and home sellers that a professional home inspection is needed to ensure that forced air heaters are properly sealed to their platform.

Improperly or weaken furnace seals are a common occurrence, especially in older homes that have not been inspected in many years. Review of your furnace is recommended by a professional home inspector as a cautionary measure to protect the inhabitants of the home from the possible mixing of combustion gases, such as carbon monoxide, with the circulating air in your home.

One way this fatal mixture can occur is through small gaps at the base of the furnace. The lower portion of your furnace is known as the return air plenum. This is where the air from your home is drawn into the furnace to be reheated and then blown back into the rooms of your home. The blower unit performs this function by creating a vacuum. If the base of the furnace is not sealed to the platform, this vacuum can pull exhaust gases from the furnace into the air stream. These exhaust fumes can then be circulated to every heat register in the house, to the obvious detriment of you and your family.

If your home inspector advises repair, immediate attention to this concern is recommend. The repair is a fairly simple and affordable procedure. All that is needed is to caulk the perimeter of the heater base to the wood platform. When completed, you can call the Gas Company for a final inspection. Make sure your retain the services of a qualified inspector who is trained and experienced in home inspection and is a member of a professional association such as CREIA.

This real estate bulletin has been brought to you by the California Real Estate Inspection Association. Since 1976, CREIA, a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection industry and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.

CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a written test of property systems and complete 30 hours of education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances that affect property inspection and the business of real estate inspection.

CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you, click here.