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Gas Appliances Not Being Inspected, County Consumer Protection Report Says

WSSC enforces the gas appliance regulations in Montgomery County.

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
Thomas February 24, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Why not add a cost of the inspection to the cost of gas appliances? Then the homeowners will be clamoring to get their money's worth and get it inspected. And WSSC should offer to re-certify every 10 years or so for FREE as part of the inspection fee. Those hoses can leak!
Woodside Park Bob February 24, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I can easily believe this is a problem. When I bought a new drier a year or so ago, they charged me for the inspection, but the store's installation contractor failed to arrange for the inspection. They scheduled it only after I complained to the store and then to the contract installer. Presumably the inspection fee I paid was passed along to the contractor, who would have simply pocketed it if they didn't arrange for the inspection.
Lisa Smith February 26, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Why is the water company inspecting our gas appliances? Don't we have a gas company for that?
rob williams March 17, 2012 at 02:26 AM
The Gas Company does not perform that service. They only sell gas. As a matter of fact, the employees of the Gas Company that work on the gas lines, have to get their employees licensed, and the licenses are issued by the WSSC. The WSSC is the Government Agency that issues the Plumbing/Gas Fitting Licenses, so they are the Agency that issues the permits and they perform the inspections. I realize that doesn't sound right, but that is the way it is set up.
Margo June 28, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Who do you contact to give you a permit for a gas fireplace if your contractor did not pull a permit with montgomery county? The contractor never installed an access valve when he switched it to gas!

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