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    Disabling a Unsafe Gas Furnace

    Disabling a Unsafe Gas Furnace

    New postby Robinair on Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:08 am

    I have searched in the 2012 UMC and IMC for specific verbiage from a Higher authority pertaining to who can shut down an unsafe Gas Furnace .
    My original policy was to as follows : If one of our Technicians found a compromised Heat Exchange or a unsafe condition , they would shut the Furnace down and close the Gas Valve ( But not disable the Furnace )
    I recently had a situation where the home owner had another company re start the furnace and demand a refund for the Heat safety inspection .
    The city of Houston is vague on this issue and refers to the Utility company and the only agency that is allowed to disable a unsafe appliance .
    Please advise
    Robinair
     
    Posts: 1
    Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:37 pm

    Re: Disabling a Unsafe Gas Furnace

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:14 pm

    I sent a question off to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, I received a response back that I will receive a response within 3-5 business days.

    Until then, I found this on the OSHA site - I realize that this is only for your employees, but it would be a place to start:
    - https://www.osha.gov/Publications/3120.html

    I looked through NFPA 54 but didn't find anything there either.

    I would start locally with your fire department, Fire Chief, Fire Marshall and find out what their policies are. Then your insurance company to find out what they say, if anything.

    Ii would also send an email to the CEO, CFO, and the attorney for the gas company asking for their policy on NOT shutting off/tagging out/locking out UNSAFE appliances ... if they don't have one (they probably do), they will quickly write one ... and I suspect that the gas company will include not only their workers and employees, but also include to the affect of 'and any suitably licensed contractor' and likely also include 'or other suitable knowledgeable person' is permitted to shut the gas off to an unsafe appliance. To do otherwise would put the gas company on the hook for any damage, injury, or death resulting from a policy which says 'leave the gas on and do not tagout/lockout unless a gas company employee/.

    Did the second company re-start the furnace without doing any work? If so, and if you are sure it was unsafe and should not have been operated without repairs, report the other company to the Fire Chief, Fire Marshall, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, and the newspapers and TV news as those things make good news stories - 'Contractor re-starts a defective furnace so occupants can die from ... (fill in the blank).'

    That is all I have for starters as the codes and licensing (unless I hear something different from TDLR) address the installation of new work.

    The Existing Building Code (if adopted and applicable to your area) may be the closest thing to a code which would support you as it includes:
    - From the 2012 International Existing Building Code
    - - SECTION 502 REPAIRS
    - - - 502.1 Scope.
    - - - - Repairs, as defined in Chapter 2, include the patching or restoration or replacement of damaged materials, elements, equipment or fixtures for the purpose of maintaining such components in good or sound condition with respect to existing loads or performance requirements.
    - - - 502.2 Application.
    - - - - Repairs shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 6.
    - - - 502.3 Related work.
    - - - - Work on nondamaged components that is necessary for the required repair of damaged components shall be considered part of the repair and shall not be subject to the provisions of Chapter 7, 8, 9, 10 or 11.

    - - SECTION 608 MECHANICAL
    - - - 608.1 General.
    - - - - Existing mechanical systems undergoing repair shall not make the building less conforming than it was before the repair was undertaken.

    That is what I have so far.
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan
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    Re: Disabling a Unsafe Gas Furnace

    New postby Jerry Peck - Codeman on Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:34 pm

    I received this response back from the TDLR:

    Jerry,

    The TDLR air conditioning law and rule is silent on this subject. The expectation is the licensee will abide by the law. Section R111.3 of the 2012 IRC authorizes the building official or the utility provider to disconnect a utility service.

    Having the customer sign the invoice noting the appliance has been inspected and found unsafe would be a consideration.

    Contact my cell if you require additional assistance.

    (I will send you the persons contact information if you want. I can send it through your email listed on the board.)

    Note the "or" in this (bold and underlining are mine) " Section R111.3 of the 2012 IRC authorizes the building official or the utility provider to disconnect a utility service."

    I recommend sending an email to the building official and get their policy (if not previously written policy, it will become a written policy once put down in the email reply to you).
    Jerry Peck - CodeMan
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