In November 2008, a family was found dead in a Colorado mountain vacation home. What was the cause of death? An improperly vented boiler released the silent killer carbon monoxide in the bedrooms. The survivors filed a lawsuit against the installer for negligence in the installation of the boiler and its ventilation system. The suit was settled but the tragedy is a grim example of the importance of proper ventilation systems.

The installation of a proper ventilation system is quite complicated but if you fail to install the system, you are risking your life and safety. Vents are critical because they divert harmful gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide including particulates from a room into the outside environment. The consequences of not having vents when you are using a boiler can be costly and fatal.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 54 provides the proper standards for ventilation when there are gas-fired equipment like water heaters, furnaces and gas appliances. NFPA mandates venting distance from windows and other openings in the building structure; however, there are other options for venting particularly in retrofitted structures.

One of the first things that a boiler installer must know before the installation of a ventilation system is the NFPA category under which the appliance falls under. There is guidance on whether ventilation must be horizontal or vertical, the type of materials that must be used, whether to seal the system and the terminals that are necessary.

One of the biggest concerns in ventilation systems is the safety of people inside the home or building because gas-fired equipment and appliances release toxic gases. A proper ventilation design requires the vents to be as straight as possible, to meet the venting criteria that have been laid out in the instruction manual and to properly follow the guidelines that were provided by NFPA.

Paul of APH Heating is a Corgi-registered heating engineer and member of Water Industry Approved Plumbers Scheme (WIAPS) so that you can be sure that your home is in safe hands. Paul has had many years of experience in the installation, repair and replacement of boilers from homes to commercial spaces.

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About Author: Christopher Williams