Around two-thirds of the gas appliances in Montgomery County have not been properly inspected following installation, according to Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection Director Eric Friedman.
When gas appliances like water heaters, furnaces, ranges, grills, generators, clothes dryers or fireplaces are installed in the county the licensed gas plumber who performed the installation has to schedule an inspection with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, who enforces the regulatory code.
It’s unknown how many gas appliances that hadn’t been inspected have had problems, Friedman said, but the issue shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“This is serious stuff,” he said.
Gas appliances that aren’t properly ventilated could cause carbon monoxide poisoning and there is a chance, though rare, that a house could blow up, Friedman said.
After reviewing comments from consumers, retailers, Fire and Rescue Services and WSSC, the advisory committee made the following recommendations:
- Expand the hours and days for WSSC inspections
- Provide a longer period of time for WSSC inspections
- Raise consumer awareness
- Enforce the existing rules
- Audit a small percentage of permits
- Change the existing rules to require more WSSC involvement throughout the process
- Undertake a broad survey of other jurisdictions to determine best practices