Defective Furnaces can be anywhere

February 09, 2001
REALTOR OUTLOOK By Kay Wilson-BoltonFebruary 7, 2001DEFECTIVE FURNACES CAN BE ANYWHEREThe US Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning consumers about the dangers of certain gas-fired forced air furnaces that lay on their side. The defective furnaces were only installed in California homes and are usually found in attics or crawl spaces. There have been about 30 reports of fires and damage to homes as well as failures of burners and heat exchangers that can lead to fires.Most of the furnaces were manufactured under the Premier/Consolidated labels. All of the furnaces can be identified by the fact that they are equipped with steel control rods installed above the burners.Many of the furnaces are still in use and can installed anywhere in California. Several have been found in Oxnard. Reports from property managers in the Oxnard area indicate that in some homes where these furnaces where found, batteries had been from smoke detectors which doubles the potential for tragedy.Because Consolidated in currently in bankruptcy liquidation, the availability of repair parts is unresolved. There is on-going private litigation which could enable consumers to recover at least some of their out-of-pocket expenses for replacement or repair of the furnaces.There are some immediate suggestions to improve the safety.1. Protect the wood deck or rafters on which the furnace is mounted by covering it with a non-combustible material such as cement board that extends a minimum of 12" past the side of the furnace.
2. Provide an air space beneath the furnace. A licensed contractor can perform this work and can offer the homeowner several ways to accomplish this.3. Make sure the furnace is installed correctly and serviced at least annually. The inspection should include a safety inspection of the burner assembly and heat exchanger.4. Install an ionization-type smoke detector inside the attic to provide an early warning of smoke or fire.For additional information, consumers should contact the US Consumer Product Safety Commission toll-free hotline at 800.638.2772.Home inspectors who are hired by buyers to inspect the homes being considered for purchase should be aware of this recall and property notify buyers and their REALTOR(r) of potential hazards.When selecting a representative for your next real estate transaction, please be sure the agent is a REALTOR and a member of the Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS which covers Western Ventura County. There is a difference!

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