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co gas and smell

Ms S

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The Apollo I have is linked with an Intelli-Vent White Rodgers. It's install dates March 2008. I called to have it checked after smelling a gas smell and co was also detected. Otherwise it works beautifully. 2 GVAC companies do not seem to know what to do with it. There is a bird living in the Intake pipe about 6-9 feet in.. $189 later plumber with camera,(after the initial $120 HVAC call/diagnosis visit), wants to cut a hole in my ceiling and replace the pipe, (since he "does not have something to blow it out"). Of course this needs to be addressed,but from video, twigs not fully,maybe half?, obstructing- could that be a reason for it not exhausting properly??

Also, HVAC Sean stated that the pipes were not caulked.. and he sawed the exhaust PVC off to check for obstruction. Could he have just disassembled??

I'm not sure where the strongest co reading was, aside from near the top of the closet. Lastly, do you have any thoughts that might help me- the unit is unplugged. gas turned off.

Thank You, I look forward to your reply!

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New information:

My neighbor, with a ridiculously high co count, found the exhaust and intake pipes were switched; so the bird's pipe was actually supposed to be the exhaust, and the intake would then be the larger pipe the exhaust runs thru. If the now intake is cleared out and covered, she asks if this is just as good, or should they be switch correctly so that the pvc out/exhaust "Y"'s into and thru the intake?

There are calls to the builder.. not replied yet. So far we know of 4 of us in the building with this going on, but I have seen birds pop their heads out of many on the pipes outside the building.

Thanks again...

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Birds in the pipes are a serious problem, no matter which pipe it is. If they're in the exhaust pipe, though, they won't live for long. Birds are very sensitive to carbon monoxide. Get rid of the birds any way that you can and then put 1/4" galvanized steel hardware cloth screens over the pipes to prevent them from returning.

Get a trusted HVAC tech to figure out whether or not your inlet and exhaust pipes are switched. If they use a concentric termination, this could be a real problem.

After that, test for CO again.

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You Guys Rock! Thank you.

The contractor was here with a tech from our HOA. The contractor repeatedly stated that it was a "suggested" install; which pipe was intake and exhaust. My neighbor had her brother-in-law tell her that hers,(Mine are as well.) were switched. She has been persistent is saying she will feel better if they are installed they way they were originally intended. So thank you for validating that! (if I am understanding correctly).

The tech is getting screens, and pipes I think, for the switch. Mine was sawed off- so is it OK to use those rubber connectors?(sorry I don't know the correct term). He is going to use a shop vac and a towel/rag to create suction- check for any blockage in both.

I still have a bill with an HVAC and plumber/ company of $300+,(who wanted to cut a hole in the ceiling and replace the (bird)pipe. The cost is from the visit+diagnoss + almost $200 for plumber with camera to look for blockage and nest, though not removed. What is reasonable? What part of the cost is my responsibility in your opinion?

Thanks again,

Ms S

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It doesn't sound excessive for competent trades people to do what they were doing. I don't know pay scale out there, but around here that would be very reasonable. I'd want at least that much for the work they provided.

That said, if I were you, I'd be looking at the contractor that installed it to pay everything.

The mistakes they made have the potential to be life threatening; messing up an exhaust is the sort of thing that kills people. If not life safety, then health, as it is well established that long term exposure to low levels of CO can cause a number of health issues. There is no reasonable excuse for getting this wrong. The installer was a screwup.

I'd push life and health safety issues in the installers face and tell them I'd be satisfied if they'd get it all taken care of and then go away. Expect their opinion to differ from mine, but you asked, and that's what I'd be looking for. I'd probably back it up with a letter from my attorney to make it clear I wasn't blowing smoke.

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