WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is announcing today that in early 2005 Falcon HC Holding Corp., of Stamford, Conn., withdrew from participation in the recall program to replace Ultravent-brand plastic vent pipes used to vent home heating systems. Because of Falcon’s withdrawal, consumers with Ultravent pipes now have to pay the portion the firm had agreed to pay, about 40 percent of the total replacement cost, which amounts to between $230 and $250 per system.
All the other firms participating in the recall program continue to honor their obligations under the program. Falcon’s withdrawal does not affect consumers with Plexvent-brand vent pipe. Thus, consumers with Plexvent-brand plastic vent pipes continue to get a cost-free remedy when they replace their vent pipes.
The original recall program
was announced on February 24, 1998 with the participation of virtually the entire furnace and boiler industry together with the two manufacturers of high-temperature plastic vent (HTPV) pipes. Its purpose was to replace the estimated 250,000 HTPV pipe systems attached to gas or propane furnaces or boilers in consumers’ homes. The HTPV pipes could crack or separate at the joints and leak deadly carbon monoxide (CO). About 93,000 HTPV pipes have been replaced as of October 1, 2005.
When the recall program began in February 1998, Hart and Cooley Inc., the manufacturer of Ultravent pipes, agreed to participate in the recall indefinitely. In December 1999, Hart and Cooley Inc. was purchased by EQ Corp., of Norwalk, Conn., a subsidiary of Equilease Corp., and renamed Falcon HC Holding Corp. The firm currently known as Hart and Cooley Inc., now owned by Tomkins PLC, is not the subject of this press release.
Despite having ample assets to continue funding Falcon HC Holding Corp.’s share of the recall, EQ Corp. has informed the Commission that it is not legally responsible and, therefore, will not do so.
Since the recalled HTPV pipes can leak CO, consumers are urged to replace them immediately. CO is a colorless, odorless gas. Initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu, and may include dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea and irregular breathing. High-level exposure can lead to death.
To determine whether they have HTPV pipe systems subject to the recall, consumers should check the vent pipes attached to their natural gas or propane furnaces or boilers. Vent pipes subject to this recall program can be identified as follows: the vent pipes are plastic; the Plexvent vent pipes are black and the Ultravent vent pipes are gray; and they have the names "Plexvent," "Plexvent II" or "Ultravent" stamped on the vent pipe or printed on stickers placed on pieces used to connect the vent pipes together.
Consumers should also check the location of these vent pipes. For furnaces, only HTPV systems that have vent pipes going through the sidewalls of structures (horizontal systems) are subject to this program. For boilers, all HTPV systems are subject to this program. Other plastic vent pipes, such as white PVC or CPVC, are not involved in this program.
After checking the vent pipes, consumers should call the special toll-free number (800) 758-3688, available between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, to verify that their HTPV pipe systems are subject to this recall program.
Consumers with eligible systems will receive new, professionally installed venting systems free of charge or at a reduced charge, depending on the manufacturer of their HTPV pipes. In addition, furnace owners with HTPV pipes may choose to replace their existing mid-efficiency furnace with a new, high-efficiency furnace manufactured by the same company. Furnace owners with Plexvent pipes will receive a $400 rebate when the work is completed, and furnace owners with Ultravent pipes will receive a $250 rebate when the work is completed.
Additionally, CPSC recommends that every home should have at least one CO detector.