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CO detectors, liability etc.

Recent indictments of building officials and contractor in Colorado renew my concern about my potential liability as a heating contractor in Silverthorne CO -- 140 miles from Aspen, where a family of 4 died.  I do service work here, often working on or around various boilers with PVC or stainless vents (mod/cons). I've began to look at vent glue joints and am bothered that I cannot verify vent integrity by physical inspection alone.

I cannot control all factors in possible "CO event" -- What if my clients suffer monoxide poisoning in the future, due to unpredictable or unseen factors?

I have Bacharach Monoxor II -- Is it proper to test not only around vent joints, fjue gasses directly and air space inside homes with this device? Is it reliable for that purpose?

Are there better tools to test for CO in interior airspace?

Is there comprehensive study of home CO detectors? Are they truly reliable in the long run? Are some products ineffective, fraudulent ??

Is the testing done by Consumer Reports and others of home detectors legitimate?

What else can we service contractors do to protect our clients and our reputation?

Any input or comments are appreciated.


PS: In the West, few states actually test and license HVAC contractors -- in Colorado there is no statewide testing for knowledge, skill or experience -- just local "licenses" -- nothing but a tax on small business -- anyone can become a "mechanical contractor" -- my blind uncle can work on your boiler or furnace, no experience necessary.  Such is life in land of the Rugged Individualist .... I'll spare you the rest of that rant !


  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
    Try purchasing

    CO Experts Low Level Carbon Monoxide detectors for your customers. That way you will leave them with a device that will constantly monitor their environment.

    You need to get to a Carbon Monoxide training session with Jim Davis from national Comfort Institute. Or in your area one of Jim's students and a real pro who posts here is Mark Eatherton.

    Feel free to contact me at gastc@cox.net and I am sure I can help you out.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Thanks for the referral TIm...

    And to Mikey, you are very correct in your assessments. If you touched it last, and you didn't do a CO test, and someone gets sick or worse, and it comes to a liability situation, YOU hold the bag of liability.

    If you don't test, you don't know. If you don't know, and someone gets sick or worse, it could cost you your livelyhood, and more.

    Back to reality, there is only so much a person can do to inspect joint integrity. How far are you willing to go? Would you be willing to open up vertical chases that are sheet rocked to inspect couplings used in extending the vent to the roof? Is the customer willing to allow you to open sheetrock walls within their finished dwelling?

    Tis a litiguous society in which we live. Travel with extreme caution, and document EVERYTHING. As I was told by a Federal Circuit Court judge once, "If it isn't in writing, in the eyes of the court, it doesn't exist". Verbally telling a customer there is a problem will not cut it. Put it in writing and get their initials or signature acknowledging the situation.

    I don't understand why more contractors don't read this section and comment. It's like if they don't acknowledge it, they can't be hurt by it, and nothing could be further from the truth. If you ignore it, YOU will go away.


    There was an error rendering this rich post.

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