Thursday, January 20, 2011

Home Heating Safety Alert 家用取暖安全警報

Winter Weather Warning: CPSC and USFA Issue Home Heating Safety Alert

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) are urging consumers to play it safe as winter weather blankets the United States.

According to USFA, home fires spike in winter months. Cooking and home heating are the leading causes of residential building fires during the winter. The risk of fires also increases with the use of supplemental heating, such as space heaters.

CPSC estimates that home heating was associated with an average of 33,300 fires and 180 fire deaths per year from 2005 to 2007.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is also a serious threat in the winter months. Any fuel-burning appliances in the home, including furnaces and fireplaces, are a potential CO source. Carbon monoxide is called the "invisible killer," because it is an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas.

There has been an increasing trend in unintentional, non-fire CO deaths associated with consumer products since 1999. CPSC staff estimates there were 184 CO poisoning deaths on average per year from 2005-2007 compared to 122 deaths per year from 1999-2001. Since 1999, the majority of CO deaths have been associated with heating systems and portable generators.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are an important line of defense in the home, and they give consumers valuable escape time. About two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms, or in homes where consumers have removed the alarm's batteries or where the batteries are dead. Recently, there were tragic deaths in homes where alarms could have made a difference:

In Citra, Fla., a fire killed five children on November 8. Their home did not have smoke alarms.
In Penfield, N.Y., a 54-year-old man died of CO poisoning in November. Prior to his death, the home's CO alarms reportedly beeped and were removed from the house.
CPSC and USFA recommend that in addition to having working smoke and CO alarms, consumers should follow these safety tips to prevent fires and CO poisoning:

Preventing FiresPlace space heaters on a floor that is flat and level. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials; and place space heaters out of the flow of foot traffic. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
To prevent the risk of fire, NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater close to any sleeping person. Turn the heater off when you leave the area. See CPSC's electric space heater safety alert for more space heater safety tips (pdf).
Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater. Even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of a fire.
Have fireplace flues and chimneys inspected for leakage and blockage from creosote or debris every year.
Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire, and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
Store fireplace ashes in a fire-resistant container, and cover the container with a lid. Keep the container outdoors and away from combustibles. Dispose of ashes carefully, keeping them away from dry leaves, trash or other combustible materials.

Preventing CO poisoningSchedule a yearly professional inspection of all fuel-burning home heating systems, including furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, water heaters, chimneys, flues and vents.
NEVER operate a portable gasoline-powered generator in an enclosed space, such as a garage, shed, or crawlspace, or in the home.
Keep portable generators as far away from your home and your neighbors' homes as possible - away from open doors, windows or vents that could allow deadly carbon monoxide into the home.
When purchasing a space heater, ask the salesperson whether the heater has been safety-certified. A certified heater will have a safety certification mark. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features. An unvented gas space heater that meets current safety standards will shut off if oxygen levels fall too low.
Do not use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space, unless they are designed specifically for indoor use. Always follow the manufacturer's directions for proper use.
Never use gas or electric stoves to heat the home. They are not intended for that purpose and can pose a CO or fire hazard.
More information can be found in CPSC's Safety Alert, Winter warning on portable generatorReplace batteries.

Related News:
2013/12/24 CTV News - Two deaths and multiple emergency calls for carbon monoxide poisoning
2013/12/25 World Journal - 多市逾百宗一氧化碳中毒

Monday, January 3, 2011

Noisy Water Heater 製造噪音的熱水爐

How to troubleshoot water heater noise like pounding, rumbling, crackling, popping, ticking, sizzling.
Noisy water heater article is about common problems in residential water heating and how to troubleshoot annoying noise like rumbling, ticking, pounding...

Water heater noise is usually associated with the two main conditions; water hammer and mineral build-up, but there are also other reasons for noisy heater and plumbing.

It is common to experience the annoying noise your water heater makes after a short period of service. Even if your hot water heating unit is installed in the area away from the living or sleeping room, you might hear a noise in the plumbing that travels with a vibration waves from the water heater.

Noise for example can come either from the gas water heater due to water droplets on the crusty formations and sediments; or is associated with the hissing sound on electric units and formation of lime scale on the immersed heating elements.

The most common symptoms of water heater noise are:
•Pounding noise
•Sizzling noise
Noisy Water Heater - Pounding Noise
Why my water heater is making pounding noise?

Mineral buildup and water hammer are the main causes of the pounding noise your hot water heater makes.

When water is flowing through the plumbing system and it is stopped suddenly, the high intensity shock wave travels through the pipeline, making vibration in the piping system, followed by the pounding, banging and thumping noise.

Pounding noise is associated with the water hammer occurrence. Water hammer and how to solve the problem with the pounding noise it produces, you can find in the article about water hammer.

Pounding noise can occur due to lime formations and sediments at the tank bottom. To eliminate the noise some professionals will recommend installing water softener, or flushing the system occasionally. How to troubleshoot sediment problem and noisy water heater due to the lime scale; it is explained in our article about sediments and lime build-up.

Aluminum hydroxide gel in tank or plumbing is one of the main causes of the rumbling noise in water heaters, while the mineral buildup can also be a factor. The aluminum hydroxide gel is the result of the chemical reaction between the anode rod and water condition.

These blue, green or gray gel beads tend to accumulate in the water heater drain or in faucet aerators.

Solution for this water heater noise problem should be considered if there is a mineral build up and if there is no:

If the water heater is new and has no lime build-up, simply turn the heater off, remove the anode rod and flush the system thoroughly. Bring the anode back and run the water heater.

If there is a lime build up, use one of the recommended delimers (phosphoric acid for example or one recommended by the manufacturer) and follow the procedure for flushing the deposits.

Ticking noise is usually caused by fluctuation in pressure in the piping system. If your water heater is energy efficient unit, the odds are that it has heat traps installed. Due to temperature change; expansion and contraction of the elements, heat trap ball is rattling in the nipple.

If there is no other way to eliminate this ticking noise, simply remove the heat traps from the heater. There will be only a minor reduction in the energy efficiency, without affecting the safety of heater's operation.

Another reason for ticking sound might be in the hot water pipes, due to expanding and contracting against a loose strap or wood framing while making a hot water draw. One of the solutions is to track down where the ticking noise is the loudest, secure the pipe or install plastic spacers. The simplest solution: Turn the temperature on your water heater just a few degrees down.

Popping and Crackling
Lime (CaCO3) in water heater is the result of the water hardness, present almost in every home plumbing, more or less. More lime is created as you heat the water more and due to higher usage in the excessive hardness environment.

Popping and crackling noise is one of the symptoms where water is trapped under the lime deposits. Solution for the noisy water heater due to lime build up is simple, flushing the heater with the proper acidic compound (delimer recommended by the manufacturer).

If the water flow is also stopped abruptly it can also cause the popping or crackling noise.

Another reason for crackling might be condensation dripping on the burner or any other hot part's surface.

The main reason for sizzling noise in your gas water heater is due to condensation and or leaking problem; when the water drops are dripping down the flame in the burner or hot surface.

Condensation is created when the hot flue gases are in contact with cooler surfaces. Condensation will form inside the vent and the drops of water will hit hot surface every few seconds making the sizzling sound. It can be seen by looking in the combustion chamber where the flame will first grow very bright and then very dim.

Keep in mind that on some usually older units, even half a gallon of water vapor will be produced every hour of operation.

Condensation should stop when the entire water heater is heated above 115 F. If the problem is with leaking, locating and repairing or replacing the leaking element or to tighten the loose fittings, is the solution.

A sizzling gas water heater can be very normal as the natural gas has a very high moisture content and therefore in products of combustion.

On the heating elements of the electric water heaters, due to lime scale, water trapped next to the element will also make the sizzling noise, boiling the water to steam.


Water heater noise can be reduced by disconnecting the heater and with a regular flushing. This is the most common solution. If the water is too hard, you might want to consider installing a water softener, but consider a negative influence on the anode rod.

Use the following article to learn about lime build-up and deliming process.

Return from Noisy Water Heater to Troubleshooting Water Heater
Back to Hot Water Heaters reviews