CO2 Poisoning – Defective Tankless Water Heaters
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Tankless water heaters are the first innovation in water heater technology in a long time. By only heating water when it is used instead of continuously keeping water hot, they promise to make hot water always available and to provide energy savings over conventional water heaters of between 30-45%. Other advantages the technology promises include:
- Better temperature control to prevent hot water scalding
- Sealed combustion, so flue gasses do not enter the home
- Quiet and small, relegating their placement not only to garages or exteriors, although exterior models are also available
- Environment friendly – less NOx emissions and greenhouse gasses such as CO2
- Longer life and compact design resulting in less clogging of landfills
Because of the environmental advantages, the federal government has made a $300 tax credit available for homeowners who install qualifying units.
Tankless water heaters, however, use more air for ignition and must be properly vented. And as several tankless water units were in transit while being shipped, some of their components shifted, possibly causing an air filter door switch to stop working as intended. The failing switch may have allowed the heater to continue operating when the air filter door was not in the proper position. And as lint and dust accumulated, a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can cause death, ensued.
In late February, 2007, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Rheem Manufacturing Company, Paloma Industries, Inc., and CSA International, announced a recall to repair approximately 42,200 Power Vent 199,900 BTUH tankless water heaters. The heaters were sold between May, 2004, and December, 2006. They have a grey or cream jacket enclosure and piping on the top and bottom of the unit. For more information on the tankless water heater recall, please go to http://www.cpsc.gov/.../.../.../07108.html.
If you are using a recalled tankless water heater, it is recommended that you:
Stop using the heater immediately if the air filter door is out of place
Contact the manufacturer or the installer to arrange for a free on-site repair (see contact information below)
Install carbon monoxide alarms outside of sleeping areas and on every level in your home (a prudent step regardless of whether you operate a tankless water heater)
Contact an experienced product liability attorney if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning
For more information provided by the manufacturers of the heaters involved in the recall, or to schedule a free onsite repair, please go to http:/../../07108.html. The toll free hotline to schedule a free on site repair in the US is 1-866-369-4786 (M-F 7am-7pm CST, Sat/Sun 9am -4:30 pm CST). In Canada, it is 1-800-268-6966 ext 364 (M-F 8:30 am-4:30 pm EST).
Carbon monoxide poisoning is not a trivial matter. Mild exposure causes symptoms similar to the flu. But higher levels of exposure can cause:
- Loss of consciousness
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been exposed to more than trace levels of carbon monoxide, whether released from a tankless water heater or otherwise, you should seek medical attention without delay. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of a product recalled due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.