Manufacturer recalls plastic venting pipe Your heating system needs yearly checkup

Homework

March 01, 1998|By Karol V. Menzie

FORGET SINKING liners, live dinosaurs and alien abductions. The scariest thing in your house during the heating season is carbon monoxide (CO) -- a colorless, odorless gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels such as natural gas and propane. If the gas gets into your home, it can cause illness -- and exposure to high levels of CO can kill.

If you have a gas furnace or boiler, you should be aware that the furnace and boiler industry, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the manufacturers of high-temperature plastic vent pipes have announced a recall of certain plastic vent pipes that could crack or separate at joints. The pipes will be replaced free of charge.

Pipes being recalled are gray or black plastic with the names Plexvent, Plexvent II, or Ultravent stamped on the pipe itself or on printed stickers placed on connective pieces.

Not white PVC

For furnaces, vent pipes that extend through side walls of structures are eligible for recall. For boilers, all vent pipes are eligible.

Other types of vent pipe, such as white PVC, are not included in the recall.

If you think you have pipes that are subject to the recall, call toll-free 800-758-3688 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. seven days a week to verify the status of the pipes.

If they're eligible, they will be replaced, free, with new, professionally installed systems.

It's a good idea to have all fossil fuel-burning appliances checked once a year to make sure there are no leaks or blockages that could let carbon monoxide escape.

You can also install a carbon monoxide detector that will alert you to any buildup in CO levels.

Nice touches

Thinking about renovating a bath or kitchen? Removing a wall to open up some space? Converting a spare bedroom to a home office?

You might want to consider what builders and designers are incorporating in new homes to ensure that your remodeling stands up to the demands of the next decade. Check newspaper listings for builders' events, "dream home" showcases and open houses to find out what's going on in your area.

In the meantime, here are some of the noteworthy touches that Masco Corp., American Home- Style & Gardening magazine and Steve Carr Builders Inc., included in a house in Napierville, Ill., that was part of a cavalcade of homes:

* Arched doorways, interior French doors, and half walls -- some with planters -- to open space visually. People who are renovating older houses -- especially rowhouses -- often remove walls on a top floor for a more open, loft-like feeling.

* Two-story great rooms. A 100-year-old house in Kentucky had a two-story living-dining room with a gallery along three sides. The open feeling on the first floor made the tiny house seem much larger, and the gallery spaces were both airy and intimate.

* Lots of stainless steel, including sinks, cook tops, refrigerators and dual under-counter ovens. Doubles are hot in kitchen design these days: dual ovens; dual sinks (for prep and cleanup, or for hTC two-cook kitchens); dual microwaves (one at kid level for snack preparation); even dual dishwashers (for people who do a lot of entertaining).

* A first-floor hobby room, with lots of counter space. Such a space usually includes laundry facilities and doubles as a mud room.

* A flexible-space room that is accessible from both the master bedroom and the hallway. It can be used as a nursery when children are small, and as a sitting room later. Or it could be a home office or studio/workshop.

Shedding some light

Looking for that perfect light fixture for a breakfast nook, say a Tiffany-style pendant lamp? Want a yard light that looks like it came straight off the Left Bank in Paris?

Check out "Lighting," a new specialty catalog from Sears that features all kinds of lighting fixtures and ceiling fans in styles from country to classic.

The catalog, available at Sears and Sears Hardware stores, offers a larger selection than what usually appears in the stores. Customers can order fixtures delivered to the store or to their homes (in either case, customers pay shipping charges).

The generally stylish collection offers a two-light, stained-glass billiard table fixture, a silver and white glass Empire-style pendant chandelier in "tassel and scroll" design and the Hopscotch group, which includes ceiling fan, three-light pendant fixture and three sizes of table lamps with a country check-and-fruit design.

Prices range from about $15 for a 14-inch-tall candlestick lamp to about $1,200 for a 21-light contemporary-style crystal chandelier. Most prices are between $100 and $200.

If you have questions, tips or experiences to share about working on houses, e-mail karol.menzialtsun.com. Or write c/o HOMEWORK, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column; comments, tips and experiences will be reported in occasional columns.

Pub Date: 3/01/98

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