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Carbon Monoxide: Backdrafting and Spillage

By David Richardson What is the difference between backdrafting and “spillage” in natural draft equipment? These two terms are often used interchangeably even though they have different meanings. This leads to a lot of confusion and incorrect diagnoses in the field. Let’s look at differences between the two. Backdrafting Backdrafting is a reversal of the ordinary direction of airflow in a chimney or flue when vented combustion appliances are operating. In chapter 34 of… Read More

Carbon Monoxide: Return Grille Location and Combustion Safety

By David Richardson When you diagnose combustion safety issues, there are various interactions that can cause unsafe conditions you must be aware of. One interaction occurs when return grille location interferes with proper flue gas venting of a drafthood appliance. This happens when a return is located too close to the equipment, such as in the same room or even in another portion of the building. Let’s look at two return grille location scenarios… Read More

Carbon Monoxide: Which Combustion Gases Are You?

By David Richardson Each combustion gas has traits that parallel many behaviors and attitudes people have. Some of them are positive and beneficial, while others are negative and dangerous. Let’s look at five combustion gas traits and see how they parallel many behaviors and attitudes you might recognize in yourself and others. Keep in mind, just as the combustion process is a mixture of various gases, we’re a mixture of personality traits and behaviors. Read More

Carbon Monoxide: Three Rules to Protect Yourself from CO Poisoning in a Hotel

By David Richardson If you travel or vacation during the year, you may unknowingly expose yourself to the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. I live by a set of rules while traveling to protect myself and my family. Let’s look at these guidelines and see how they might help you before you hit the road. When I travel, I pack a low-level CO monitor in my backpack. I use the Sensorcon Inspector –… Read More

Carbon Monoxide: Keep Supply Registers Out of Attached Garages

By David Richardson If you pay attention to the local or national news, you’re probably seen reports about vehicles with remote start accessories that have contributed to CO (carbon monoxide) poisonings. In most stories, the vehicle was accidentally turned on with the remote while parked in an attached garage. The risk of CO poisoning increases in homes with supply registers that condition a garage attached to the living space. These registers and ducts may… Read More

Carbon Monoxide: Help Predict Pressure Switch Trips on Condensing Equipment with CO Readings

By David Richardson A problem that will drive any seasoned technician crazy is for the pressure switch in a 90% furnace to intermittently trip on the coldest night of the year. Did you know that CO (carbon monoxide) measurements in the flue gas can help you predict if this will occur? Let’s look at how to determine if this could happen, the common causes, and how to correct them. A Common Scenario You are… Read More