Gas Appliance Venting Faulty

Problem: Inadequate air supply within home.

Background: Gas appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, and gas logs, must be connected to a flue vented to the outdoors and have an adequate fresh-air supply. If vents, flues, or chimneys are not kept clean and in good repair, toxic carbon monoxide can accumulate. Signs that indicate a gas appliance has an inadequate air supply may include indoor condensation, a yellow or wavering flame, soot in your home, a gas smell, over heating, sick houseplants, or a pilot light that keeps going out.

What to do: Turn off the appliance and call a technician if you have any of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include: an aching head, smarting eyes, ringing ears, nausea, weariness, or frequent yawning. If you have weatherized your home with caulk and weather stripping, and have closed off the normal air flow through walls, at tics, windows, and doors, you may need a fresh-air intake duct to pro vide sufficient oxygen for your furnace. A heating contractor can in stall one for you.

Special advice: Make sure flues and chimneys are kept clear of debris such as nests, branches, or ivy. Avoid blocking air vents, valves, or controls if you add insulation around the water heater. Don’t cover the top of the heater or the space between the floor and heater.

Helpful hint: To make sure your home is safe, hire a qualified heating contractor to inspect and tune up your gas furnace and water heater each year and check any automatic vent dampers in use.