By the Division of Professional Licensure

February 24, 2005

In anticipation of significant snowfall in some areas overnight, The Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters ("Board") is issuing advice to homeowners with side vent gas appliances. The Board urges homeowners to ensure that the vent pipe exiting their homes is securely fitted and airtight with no air space surrounding the vent pipe. To further prevent the possibility of carbon monoxide presence or build-up within homes, homeowners are urged to keep these vents free of any obstruction, including snow, grills, lawn furniture, etc. Homeowners are also advised of the importance of carbon monoxide detectors to provide for early detection of the presence of carbon monoxide.

WHAT HOMEOWNERS SHOULD DO:

  1. INSPECT THE VENT:
    If you have a side-vented gas appliance (a water heater, furnace or boiler with an exhaust pipe that exits the building through the side of your house), inspect the vent from both the inside and the outside of the house.
  2. SEAL ANY GAP OR AIRSPACE AROUND THE OUTSIDE OF THE VENT:
    If you find a gap or space around the vent pipe exiting your home, you should temporarily seal it. Such spaces should be professionally sealed at your first opportunity. Contact the licensed professional who installed your appliance or a licensed plumber or gas fitter. Certain appliances come with a gasket, flange or other device specifically made to seal this gap. Specific directions for each appliance should be stored on the appliance itself. A professional plumber will ensure that this gasket or other manufacturer recommended sealing is put in place to ensure that carbon monoxide cannot re-enter a home.
  3. ALWAYS KEEP THE VENT CLEAR:
    In the event of snow, the vent must be kept clear. Do not put furniture or other obstructions in front of the vent.

INSTALL CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS: Like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors can help save lives. Follow manufacturer recommendations and install carbon monoxide detectors in the living space of the home.