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Latest fire occurred December 25, 2001. Click here to read Orange County Register article.

If you have a house that was built between 1983 and 1995 and the furnace is in the attic, there is a very good chance that Consolidated Industries manufactured this furnace. They were sold through many different brand names but most of the furnaces were manufactured under the Premier and Consolidated labels.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, these furnaces present a substantial risk of fire. As of June 2001, there have been about 50 reports of fires and damage to homes associated with these furnaces as well as failures of burners and heat exchangers that can lead to fires.

BACKGROUND: In 1983, the Southern California Air Quality Board put into effect a regulation on nitrous oxide emissions. Premier/Consolidated Industries produced the least expensive horizontal furnaces that met these requirements. Approximately 190,000 of these furnaces were sold between 1983 and 1994. What Consolidated did to meet the nitrous oxide requirements was equip their furnaces with steel control rods installed above the burners. In some cases these steel rods cause the burners to overheat and crack the burner box, igniting flames outside the furnace and igniting combustible materials outside the furnace.

These furnaces were only produced to meet California's nox-requirements. Furnaces produced for other states were not affected.

WHAT CAN I DO? - You may be entitled to a free furnace from the manufacturer or the company that name-branded the product. Click here for more information.

WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO REPLACE THE FURNACE? Nearly all Major Contractors have financing plans where you can pay as little as 2% of the cost of the furnace and installation per month with no money down. Since the cost of replacing the furnace with a standard efficiency furnace will be between $2000 & $3000 that means your monthly outlay will be only $40 to $60 per month. If you put in a High efficiency furnace your savings in operating cost may be enough to actually make the payment and you may be eligible for a $300.00 rebate from the Gas Company

WHAT SHOULD I DO TO MAKE SURE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN TO ME IN THE FUTURE? Buy your heating equipment from a well-known, well-financed manufacturer. Make sure that product is actually manufactured by that manufacturer and just not name branded by the manufacturer. (Manufactured by another company, but nameplate or sticker showing the major manufacturer) When purchasing a new home, ask the brand of the heating and air conditioning equipment. If you have never heard of the brand, ask the builder to substitute a well-known, well-financed brand of heating and air conditioning equipment.

Since homeowners are replacing thousands of furnaces it may be several days or even weeks before you will be able to get your furnace inspected. In this case we recommend that you turn the gas off to the furnace at the gas valve, located near the furnace. If you have air conditioning this will allow you to continue to operate the air conditioning system, which uses the the furnace blower, safely. We also recommend that you immediately purchase a smoke detector and put it in the attic close to the furnace. Try the test button with another person in the house to make sure the alarm can be heard in the house especially in the bedrooms.

When you have your furnace replaced make sure you keep the nameplate and the brand label. You may also want to take a photo of the furnace, which includes the nameplate and the brand label. If there is any burn damage to supporting structures you will also want to take a photo of this damage. For certain models you may be entitled to $450.00 or a free furnace and free repair of any burn damage caused by the furnace. Click here for more information.

THE BRIGHT SIDE. Most of the Premier/Consolidated furnaces are over 10 years old and are nearing the end of their useful life. These furnaces compared to today's standard were not very efficient, both in electrical usage and in natural gas usage. There are furnaces that are available today that use only 40% of electrical energy that the Consolidated furnaces use and 20-30% less natural gas. With today's energy prices, the Consolidated furnace is a real energy waster and a new high efficiency furnace can be installed that can easily pay for it's total replacement cost through lower utility bills in 3-4 years.

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