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February 24, 1998 Release # 98-072

Manufacturers Announce Recall Program to Replace Vent Pipes on Home Heating Systems

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a landmark action, virtually the entire furnace and boiler industry together with the manufacturers of high-temperature plastic vent (HTPV) pipes have joined with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to announce a recall program. This program will replace, free of charge, an estimated 250,000 HTPV pipe systems attached to gas or propane furnaces or boilers in consumers' homes. The HTPV pipes could crack or separate at the joints and leak carbon monoxide (CO), presenting a deadly threat to consumers.

CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuel, including natural gas and propane. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu, and may include dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea and irregular breathing. High-level exposure to CO can cause death.

To determine whether they have HTPV pipe systems that are subject to this program, consumers should first check the vent pipes attached to their natural gas or propane furnaces or boilers. Vent pipes subject to this recall program can be identified as follows: the vent pipes are plastic; the vent pipes are colored gray or black; and the vent pipes have the names "Plexvent ," "Plexvent II" or "Ultravent " stamped on the vent pipe or printed on stickers placed on pieces used to connect the vent pipes together. Consumers should now check the location of these vent pipes. For furnaces, only HTPV systems that have vent pipes that go through the sidewalls of structures (horizontal systems) are subject to this program. For boilers, all HTPV systems are subject to this program. Other plastic vent pipes, such as white PVC or CPVC, are not involved in this program.

After checking the vent pipes, consumers should call the special toll-free number (800) 758-3688, available between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. EST seven days a week, to verify that their HTPV pipe systems are subject to this recall program. Consumers with eligible systems will receive new, professionally installed venting systems free of charge. Additionally, consumers who already have replaced their HTPV pipe systems may be eligible for reimbursement for some or all of the replacement costs.

The program came about as a result of mediation among 27 participants manufacturers of HTPV pipes and manufacturers of natural gas or propane-fired boilers and mid-efficiency furnaces. This is the first time that CPSC has used a mediator to bring together all segments of an industry to implement a program for the benefit of consumers.

All consumers should have their fuel-burning appliances inspected each year to check for cracks or separations in the vents that could allow CO to leak into the home. In addition, CPSC recommends that every home should have at least one CO detector that meets the requirements of the most recent Underwriters Laboratories 2034 standard or International Approval Services 6-96 standard.

The following lists the manufacturers participating in this program.

  • Armstrong Air Conditioning Inc.
  • Bard Manufacturing Co.
  • Burnham Corp.
  • Consolidated Industries
  • Crown Boiler Co.
  • The Ducane Co. Inc.
  • Dunkirk Radiator Corp.
  • Evcon Industries Inc.
  • Hart & Cooley Inc.
  • Heat Controller Inc.
  • International Comfort Prod. Corp.(USA)
  • Lennox Industries Inc.
  • Nordyne Inc.
  • Peerless Heater Co.
  • Pennco Inc.
  • Plexco Inc.
  • Raypak Inc.
  • Rheem Manufacturing Co.
  • Slant/Fin Corp.
  • Thermo Products Inc.
  • The Trane Co.
  • Trianco-Heatmaker Inc.
  • Utica Boilers Inc.
  • Vaillant Corp.
  • Weil-McLain
  • Westcast Inc.
  • York International Corp.

BELOW - Illustration of a typical venting "Thru The Roof" installation

BELOW - Illustration of a typical venting "Horizontal Thru Wall" installation

This CPSC NEWS RELEASE wa published here as an informational courtesy. You can also locate it at the CPSC website at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml98/98072.html

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