The municipal inspector who issues Certificates of Occupancy when
ownership changes or apartments get new tenants, failed me because he
saw a "vent" in the garage ceiling. The potential problem is that any
carbon monoxide in the garage can be sucked up by the vent when the heat
or a/c is running and be distributed throughout the house. He wants me
to cover it with metal or sheetrock and caulk around the edges.
Problem is, that it is really a supply register. When I looked in the
attic, I could clearly see that the duct supplying it came directly from
the plenum (just above the evaporator) that feeds the other ducts to the
rest of the house.
I removed the register and found that someone had taped its openings
shut, so air couldn't flow either way through it. I sent photos to the
inspector of the register showing how it was taped shut. I also taped a
small piece of facial tissue to the ceiling and turned on the a/c. It
fluttered in the incoming airstream, and was not sucked upwards as it
would be if this were a return.
I wanted to just return the taped-shut housing the way it was. But the
inspector is being hard-assed. He doesn't want to see anything - supply
or return - in the ceiling. I do NOT think he's looking for me to slip
him a few bucks.
Is that a question? Why not just do what he says?
If you look at it from his point of view, he doesn't want
to go by your say-so. He wants to see it clearly covered.
So just cover it. It's an easy job. Just go to HD and get
one of those broken drywall scrap pieces.
(If you want to use it for heat later you can always
uncover it again. It does seem like a rather extreme,
letter-of-the-law attitude on his part. But he could be
held responsible for a letter-of-the-law infraction.)
| The municipal inspector who issues Certificates of Occupancy when
| ownership changes or apartments get new tenants, failed me because he
| saw a "vent" in the garage ceiling. The potential problem is that any
| carbon monoxide in the garage can be sucked up by the vent when the heat
| or a/c is running and be distributed throughout the house. He wants me
| to cover it with metal or sheetrock and caulk around the edges.
| Problem is, that it is really a supply register. When I looked in the
| attic, I could clearly see that the duct supplying it came directly from
| the plenum (just above the evaporator) that feeds the other ducts to the
| rest of the house.
| I removed the register and found that someone had taped its openings
| shut, so air couldn't flow either way through it. I sent photos to the
| inspector of the register showing how it was taped shut. I also taped a
| small piece of facial tissue to the ceiling and turned on the a/c. It
| fluttered in the incoming airstream, and was not sucked upwards as it
| would be if this were a return.
| I wanted to just return the taped-shut housing the way it was. But the
| inspector is being hard-assed. He doesn't want to see anything - supply
| or return - in the ceiling. I do NOT think he's looking for me to slip
| him a few bucks.
On Thursday, August 7, 2014 1:14:37 PM UTC-4, Mayayana wrote:
I don't think the inspector is being hard-assed, he's just following
the code. AFAIK, neither a supply nor a return is allowed into a
garage space. Think about what happens when the system is off. You
have an easy path for CO into the house. Depending on which way the
wind is blowing, pressures, etc, CO could go into the house.
On Thursday, August 7, 2014 1:15:33 PM UTC-4, trader_4 wrote:
Forgot to add, if you're buying this place, for me, this would be a big
red flag and an indication that you need to do a careful inspection for
other problems. How it got built and inspected to begin with, who knows.
Could be that some owner added it after.
Last week the inspector hired by the guy buying my house gave a very
thorough inspection, and said nothing about this. I mentioned to the
municipal inspector that this house has changes ownership seven times
since being built in 1967 and was never cited for this reason. He
replied that this became a item to check only since 1996. I bought the
house in 2000, so it should have been flagged at least once before.
The concern about CO seems rather theoretical. How many cars are left
running in garages for extended periods? When the heat/AC is running?
With today's stringent emissions, I don't think very much CO is
generated to begin with. Besides, the house has two CO/smoke detectors.
Thanks to all for raising other possible concerns that I hadn't
considered that were not mentioned by the inspector.
On Thursday, August 7, 2014 2:16:24 PM UTC-4, Rebel1 wrote:
Not unusual. Many of the "home inspectors" miss a lot more than that
because they don't know what they are doing.
I mentioned to the
That sounds about right.
I bought the
The HVAC doesn't have to be running for fumes to go from the
garage to the living space via the duct. It also would be highly
dependent on the layout of the house. If a bedroom were close by on
the duct layout, it would get there a lot easier and be worse than
if the bedrooms were on the opposite end.
I agree it's questionable as to how big of a threat it is. If you ever
watch the Mike Holmes TV show from Canada, he finds this and goes
ballistic. CO! CO! I agree, cars typically are only started up with
the doors open and then they quickly leave. And, as you point out, cars
today emit a tiny fraction of the CO they once did, assuming they are
working properly. Another aspect is that unless the area around the duct opening is properly sealed with fire resistant caulk, it's a potential
path for fire into the house. Code requires a fire rated door between
the house and garage for the same reason. Overall, it's probably made
out to be much worse of a threat than it really is.
On another note, what is one register going into the garage suppose to
do exactly? I would think it's pretty much a waste, not enough heat to
make a big difference anyway?
Probably wasn't "legal" there at the time, either, it was in a County
area outside zoning and the builder was a renegade heavy-equipment
operator who thought he'd make "the big bucks" as a contractor during a
boom in Oak Ridge hiring when we moved there in '78.
Still it is not proper and they could put a direct vent heater in garage
area. Would you want a basement with bedrooms without any windows to
exit in case of a fire? Same difference and a lot of homes have them but
is not a good situation. Just cover it and let the new owner uncover if
he wants and understands the risks.
I know of a home where the car parked in the garage caught on fire and destroyed the homre.
baierl automotive group was run by bill baierl, he left his car running in the garage, he and his wife died from CO2 poisioning.
We got co2 poisioning from a blocked water heater flue. we could of died.
just so happened a buddy stopped by, a volunteer fireman...
he recognized the symptoms, when he got ill too.
Since you posted later that you are selling the property, and just need the
C of O to sell it, it seems like a no-brainer to just do what the inspector
said that he is requiring. And, as someone wrote, if the new owners want to
change it back later, that's on them.
You showing the inspector that the duct is taped closed, and also showing
him that with the a/c on the tissue flutters (which means that the duct is
not completely taped closed), seems like contradictory information -- it is
either sealed off or it isn't. He wants it properly sealed off and that's
exactly what I would do.
I did not think of the reasoning that others posted here about how even a
supply duct in a garage could result in car exhaust fumes back-flowing into
the whole HVAC system -- especially when the system fan is not on. That
makes sense and obviously that is why the inspector does not want to see an
open HVAC vent in the garage.
I bought a home that has an attached garage that was partially unfinished --
the exterior walls were open walls with no insulation. I finished the
garage by adding insulation to the exterior walls and closing the walls with
new sheetrock. One thing that I noticed was that even though there is a
closed soffit in the garage that contains a supply duct to and room on the
interior of the home, there was no supply duct or vent to allow the garage
to be heated. I have been thinking of adding supply vent to the garage from
that supply duct, but now I know that would be improper and could cause a
serious problem. So, your experience and the citation form the inspector
taught me something that I did not know before.
If you want to heat or condition garage space the garage space MUST be
heated or conditioned with it's own unit, with no air exchange between
the two spaces. Some places go so far as to prohibit a door between
the garage and living space. I think THAT is going too far - why have
an "attached" garage if you have to go outside to access it?
My dream house is a small 2 bedroom bungalow with a double garage, 1
1/2 cars deep minimum, with basement under the garage as well as the
house - walk out under the house, and single garage door under the
garage - with the garage high enough to handle a 2 post hoist on one
side. Yes, the garage would be as big as the house!!!
Exactly. "When he got ill too."
That's the advantage of this duct in the garage. When the people in the
house start feeling CO sick, they'll know someone is in the garage
trying to kill himself, and they can stop him.
Okay, just kidding.
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