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carbon monoxide from bathroom floor drain??

An office building in Miami Florida was just evacuated because of high CO. Over 80 people were sick and 17 had to go to the hospital. The fire department reported that the highest CO levels were on the 2nd floor. They traced the cause to a floor drain on the first floor in the bathroom. They are having the floor drain repaired so it doesn't make as much CO. Does it sound like there could be something else wrong.

I have been screwing up all these years because I don't have a protocol for testing bathroom floor drains for carbon monoxide. Even so, I don't know how to tune them but I guess I will get right on it!!!

Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 11,062Member
    Somethings wrong with that report -- no surprise there. It is possible (though somewhat unlikely) that a floor drain could be allowing carbon monoxide into a building in significant quantities, if the trap was dry, but only if there was a source of carbon monoxide leaking into the sewers. Which is possible, of course -- but I can't think of any way that a floor drain could, of itself, be the source.

    They might be well advised to find the actual source...
    Jamie

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,268Member
    Maybe it was actually high levels of methane............. >:)

    But seriously- if there is a floor drain in the boiler room with a dry trap, the CO could be coming from there.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
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  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,112Member
    Steamhead said:

    Maybe it was actually high levels of methane............. >:)

    But seriously- if there is a floor drain in the boiler room with a dry trap, the CO could be coming from there.

    Are boiler rooms common in Florida?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,268Member
    Might be boilers that are running indirect water heaters, that was the setup at the Ocean City, MD Days Inn where a CO event killed some people ten years ago.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
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    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
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  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,989Member
    Is there a parking garage under the office building?
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Posts: 5,843Member
    I remember years ago when the Aspen fire department determined that there was CO coming from the floor drains.

    Shortly thereafter Weil McLain had a recall on all of the GV series boilers, requiring a special replacement trap for appliances used in low humidity areas, i.e. Aspen Colorado.

    Seems the trap seal that would normally keep the CO inside the boilers was evaporating, and allowing them to discharge flue products into the mechanical room. More CO leaks... Will they ever end?

    CO doesn't kill people... CO leaks do.

    Our job of education will never end.

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,989Member
    How about a condensing appliance with the condensate line (with no trap or wrong trap configuration) hard plumbed into the DWV system........the boiler room trap has a good water seal but the RR trap was (typically) dry?
  • captaincocaptainco Posts: 428Member
    I would suspect if it was methane or sewer gas it would have a decent odor. Seems funny the highest level was on the 2nd floor. You would think it would be in the bathroom? 80 people sickened. Sewer gas does set off CO detectors just for the record, but it smells rotten.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,112Member
    captainco said:

    I would suspect if it was methane or sewer gas it would have a decent odor. Seems funny the highest level was on the 2nd floor. You would think it would be in the bathroom? 80 people sickened. Sewer gas does set off CO detectors just for the record, but it smells rotten.

    I think our opinions on decent differ. :)
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Mad Dog_2Mad Dog_2 Posts: 3,455Member
    That's what first came to mind (jughne'so theory) to me. Plumbing 101....trap seals, indirect wastes et cetera. Hey there Mr. Davis! Mad Dog
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  • GreenGeneGreenGene Posts: 290Member
    edited April 2016
    I've seen a few other gasses set of CO alarms, usually acetylene and very little. The lists of knowns includes acetylene, dimethyl sulfide, ethyl alcohol, ethylene, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen sulfide, isopropyl alcohol, mercaptan, methyl alcohol, propane, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.

    If they didn't trace the source and confirm it they blew it IMHO.
  • GreenGeneGreenGene Posts: 290Member
    Hey I did find some literature that did mention methane, even in the home from cat litter or baby diapers can trigger false CO alarms.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,112Member
    GreenGene said:

    Hey I did find some literature that did mention methane, even in the home from cat litter or baby diapers can trigger false CO alarms.


    After a few of my son's diapers I believe it!
    I'm surprised it didn't trigger a smoke alarm too.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • cgdelzellcgdelzell Posts: 22Member
    there are some clothes driers that vent into the sewer system instead of through a drier vent. the plumbing system must be designed for it. full size stack through the roof.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,989Member
    So is there a trap on the clothes dryer exhaust that keeps the stack gases out of the dryer? Could be a new fabric softener designer scent. :o
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,112Member
    cgdelzell said:

    there are some clothes driers that vent into the sewer system instead of through a drier vent. the plumbing system must be designed for it. full size stack through the roof.

    Can you provide an example of this?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,099Member
    That sounds as crazy as, as, as burning acetylene for a headlight. :)
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,112Member
    ratio said:

    That sounds as crazy as, as, as burning acetylene for a headlight. :)

    It sounds against code in the US to me.
    That's why I'm curious.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • BillWBillW Posts: 198Member
    Is there a parking deck on the ground floor? Is there a lot of vehicle traffic near the building? Dry traps may be a culprit, but if the building is under a negative pressure, it could be pulling in CO from a parking deck or outside thru the dry floor drains. I wonder if anyone took a reading outside the building near the air intake, and if the building has any ventilation controls that may not be working right.
  • HEATONHEATON Posts: 113Member
    Experienced a case where I was using a DRAIN CLEANING chemical ans set off the alarms , checked with a CO meter and the drain was producing over 1000 ppm. jh
  • captaincocaptainco Posts: 428Member
    Sewer gas contains Hydrogen Sulfide, Nitrogen, Methane, Ammonia and some CO2. Most CO sensors are cross-sensitive to H2S, CH4 and NH3. They are also sensitive to NO but not NO2. Any cleaning compound that contains ethylene can cause false alarms. Most of these gases are not something you want to breathe.
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