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Troy officials reviewing home inspection records
Incorrect wiring of furnance in Pattison Way home led to fatal carbon monoxide poisoning Friday
By BOB GARDINIER](, Staff writer
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Last updated: 10:58 a.m., Tuesday, December 12, 2006
TROY – City officials will open code enforcement records for review this morning on 13-year-old inspections of furnaces installed in homes on Pattison Way.
This comes after Friday’s discovery that Hoan Son, 61, had died in his bed of carbon monoxide poisoning in his Pattison Way home. His wife, Lan Son, 55, is in very critical condition at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx after firefighters found overwhelmingly high concentrations of the odorless gas.
An investigation showed the furnace, first inspected by city code enforcement officials when the development was build more than a dozen years ago, was erroneously wired.
It was later discovered that similar furnaces in other homes in the development also were wired incorrectly. According to a local furnace expert, the problem with the unit was that safety switch on the direct vent kit was wired incorrectly. The vent consists of an electric fan that expels dangerous combustion gases through to an outside vent. As a result, if the fan unit failed, the safety switch would not shut off the burner, allowing the deadly gas to fill the home.

If someone were inclined to test these devices:

  1. Turn on the furnace.
  2. Check to see that the vent motor is running.
  3. Remove the small rubber tube on the device that attaches to the round diaphragm disc (pressure switch).
  4. The furnace should shut down.

It’s way beyond a typical HI inspection to check things like that which caused a problem mentioned in the article. But if you happen to notice something doesn’t look right, or perhaps if you have no idea what you are looking at with higher efficiency furnaces and something just rubs you the wrong way, write it up and have an HVAC specialist check it out.

Thats way beyond a home inspection (as is checking that anything is wired correctly), and I would not recommend that for an HI. I think some may be more likely to screw things up disconnecting things and trying to check that … maybe forget, clog/pinch the hose, or reinstall incorrectly … and would recommend an HI stay away from doing things like that with a 10 foot pole unless you know exactly what you are doing.

The safety devices and connections on higher efficiency units can be confusing sometimes even for installers (not that I have ever looked at horizontal conversions on higher efficiency furnaces doing some fill in work with a family HVAC company, and had to look at the instructions and scratch my head for a few minuets before the light bulb went on … :wink: )

I would stick with “visual observations, using normal operating controls and access”, and recommend an HI not even touch any of the wiring or safety hoses/connections.

JMO and 2-nickels … :wink: