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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!!!
SWEIGordy

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,755
    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...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,429
    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.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
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  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,550
    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
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,429
    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.
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  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,268
    Is there a parking garage under the office building?
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    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.
    ZmankcoppSteve MinnichRoohollah
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,268
    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?
  • captainco
    captainco Member Posts: 465
    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.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,550
    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_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,471
    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
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • GreenGene
    GreenGene Member Posts: 290
    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.
  • GreenGene
    GreenGene Member Posts: 290
    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.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,550
    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
    New England SteamWorksSolid_Fuel_Man
  • cgdelzell
    cgdelzell Member Posts: 22
    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.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,268
    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,550
    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
    Hilly
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 2,752
    That sounds as crazy as, as, as burning acetylene for a headlight. :)
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,550
    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
  • BillW
    BillW Member Posts: 198
    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.
  • HEATON
    HEATON Member Posts: 117
    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
  • captainco
    captainco Member Posts: 465
    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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