It’s been seven years since the EPA passed new laws to protect people from carbon monoxide build up in homes. But when are they going to introduce rules in line with locating the cause and stopping the source until repairs can be made?
I used to work as an engineer designing industrial ovens. CO detectors were placed where they needed to be, close to the source of CO, in the oven itself. The CO detector was wired into the oven electrical system. When CO exceeded safe limits, the detector sent a signal which closed the gas or fuel valve, eliminating the danger, and sounded an alarm. The problem was repaired, tested, reports filled out, and everything returned to normal.
Why didn’t the EPA pass a new law that mirrored industrial standards by requiring all combustion products to have CO detectors and safety procedures? Many homes have three levels which now require three CO detectors. Most homes have three appliances using combustion, gas stove, furnace, water heater. Many homes also have gas fireplaces. The problem now is, what happens when the stand alone CO detectors sound an alarm? That’s all they do is sound an alarm. Stand alone CO detectors do nothing to eliminate the problem or tell you where it is. That means the house is unsafe to enter until the problem is detected, repaired, and tested. This could get expensive.
Why did the EPA avoid laws requiring manufactures of combustion appliances to install CO detectors where they are needed? If an oven malfunctions, that alarm would sound, and shut of fuel, making the area safe after it is ventilated. If the furnace has a problem, the CO detector on the furnace will sound and turn off the fuel supply.
The system we now have can require expensive testing, and opens the door to fraud, contractors repairing appliances without defects. Does the fact most of our appliances are manufactured overseas have anything to do with the way that law was structured? What are the failure rates in newer appliances compared to older models? Why didn’t insurance companies step in and demand law makers follow guide lines established in the industrial world? As usual, there seems to be more questions than answers.