Lifesaving Knowledge About Home Energy

February 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm 1 comment

One of the benefits of learning more about home energy is that this knowledge might save your life!

We recently heard from a homeowner who signed up through Clean Energy Durham for the Durham Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program (NERP).  She told us about her experience when the contractor came to do the initial assessment as part of the program.

The contractor found that the furnace had been installed incorrectly.  The exhaust vent was not ventilating outside of the house and was spewing combustion fumes, which contain high levels of carbon monoxide (CO), back into the house.  The contractor likened it to running a gas grill inside the home, standing directly over it, and breathing in the fumes.

The homeowner was completely unaware of this issue and had been living in grave danger to her health and safety:  at any time the CO levels could have skyrocketed to a fatal level.  Once the problem was discovered by the contractor, the homeowner was told to stop using the furnace until it was fixed by a licensed HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning) contractor.

This highlights the importance of having a CO monitor installed if you have any gas appliance at your home.  If you have a CO monitor and the alarm sounds, immediately leave the home to seek fresh air and call 911 for the fire department to assist in the situation.  They will go into the home with oxygen masks and open all windows and doors to air out the house, and they may perform safety tests.

Another issue the contractors discovered at this home was that the original heating contractor that installed the furnace sold her a unit large enough to heat two to three houses:  her unit produces 100,000 BTUs of energy, but her size home only needs a 30,000 BTU unit.  This translated in a higher cost for her furnace when she had it installed.

This homeowner may have received some bad news with her assessment, but in her words, “I was grateful for the information.”


Entry filed under: Energy Tips, Neighborhood Energy Retrofit Program (NERP), Neighborhoods.

A “Thank You” From A Parkwood Resident For the Basic Energy Education Workshop Trinity Park Learns About Energy

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