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Green Tip: Allow Enough Air for Safe Combustion

Can a house be made too airtight? Yes, and this can be a danger to life or health. Older homes, built before the late 80’s are unlikely to be too tight. The advent of “house wraps” and new, tight-sealing windows have made overtightening a possibility. The very large majority of homes have so many small air leaks that there is sufficient air to avoid stuffiness and the most dangerous condition: carbon monoxide poisoning. If oil or gas-fired furnaces and water heaters don’t have sufficient air for combustion, dangerous byproducts can spill into the living area, causing sickness or death. Consult a professional if you have doubts about this problem. PCToday “Green Tips” are brought to you by Penn College’s Energy Conservation Subcommittee; email Chairman Richard C. Taylor, associate professor of plumbing and heating,with any ideas for future energy-saving advice.

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