- Residential Retrofit
- Impact Hazard Glazing
- Water Heater – Seismic Strapping
- CARBON MONOXIDE
- Smoke Alarms
- Plumbing Requirements
- Consumers Guides
City of Los Angeles impact hazard glazing requirement: When selling existing single or two family dwellings, condominiums and apartments, impact hazard glazing or an approved film must be installed on every sliding glass panel of sliding-type doors. Exclusions to this requirement include: wardrobe doors, bathroom shower doors and french-type wooden doors. (L.A.M.C., Section 91.2406.7 Effective May 24, 1986)
Splintered, flying glass is one of the dangerous consequences of both natural and man-made disasters. In buildings where the government mandates tempered glass, window safety films can bring buildings up to requirements at costs far below that of replacing existing windows. Safety films are specifically designed to hold broken glass in place, reducing the chance of injury and property damage. They also make forced entry more difficult for would-be vandals and burglars.
Alpha One Retrofitting uses safety film products which meet and surpass more government and international standards than any other films. These films have been extensively tested by independent testing facilities and meet safety glazing criteria as defined by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Council and Underwriters Laboratories. Materials are certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and by the City of Los Angeles.
LINKS AND RESOURCES
HOW TO BRACE YOUR WATER HEATER
All water heaters must be strapped in at least two locations; the upper one-third of the unit and the lower one-third. The lower strap must be a minimum of 4″ above the water heater control unit. The required clearances from a wall to the heater as stated on the unit nameplate are critical.
Lag screws not less than 1/4″ in diameter must be used to anchor the restraints to the wall and each lag screw must have at least 1-1/2″ thread penetration into wall stud. A large flat washer must be installed between each lag screw and strap for reinforcement.
NOTE: Perforated iron strap (plumber’s tape) will not be an acceptable material for strapping or bracing water heaters over 40 gallons.
Exam ple (w rap-around straps):
|Drill pilot holes on the centerline of the stud (both sides of the heater), Insert screws through punched holes in the strap.
Use washers. Use minimum 22 Gauge X 3/4” wide metal strap.
You CAN’T see or smell Carbon Monoxide, but it CAN Kill…
As of July 1, 2011 the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act (Senate Bill – SB 183 will require all single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel source to install carbon monoxide detectors within the home by July 1, 2011. Owners of multi-family leased or rental dwellings, such as apartment buildngs, have until January 1, 2013 to comply with the law.
Carbon Monoxide Can Be Deadly You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. If appliances that burn fuel are maintained and used properly, the amount of CO produced is usually not hazardous. However, if appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of CO can result. Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances. Even more die from CO produced by idling cars. Fetuses, infants, elderly people, and people with anemia or with a history of heart or respiratory disease can be especially susceptible. Be safe. Practice the DO’s and DON’Ts of carbon monoxide.
CO Poisoning Symptoms Know the symptoms of CO poisoning. At moderate levels, you or your family can get severe headaches, become dizzy, mentally confused, nauseated, or faint. You can even die if these levels persist for a long time. Low levels can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea, and mild headaches, and may have longer term effects on your health. Since many of these symptoms are similar to those of the flu, food poisoning, or other illnesses, you may not think that CO poisoning could be the cause. Prevent CO Poisoning Play it Safe – If you experience symptoms that you think could be from CO poisoning: • CALL 911 or your local emergency number. • GET FRESH AIR IMMEDIATELY. Open doors and windows, turn off combustion appliances and leave the house. • DO NOT re-enter the premises until cleared by emergency personnel. • GO TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM and tell the physician you suspect CO poisoning. If CO poisoning has occurred, it can often be diagnosed by a blood test done soon after exposure.
Follow these guidelines to help keep your family safer.
• Install CO alarms outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home including the basement. The CO alarm can warn you if too much CO is in your home.
• Keep CO alarms clear of dust and debris.
• Ensure CO alarms are plugged all the way into a working outlet, or if battery operated, have working batteries.
Prevention is the Key to Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
DO have your fuel-burning appliances — including oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves – inspected by a trained professional at the beginning of every heating season. Make certain that the flues and chimneys are connected, in good condition, and not blocked.
DO choose appliances that vent their fumes to the outside whenever possible, have them properly installed, and maintain them according to manufacturers’ instructions.
DO read and follow all of the instructions that accompany any fuel-burning device. If you cannot avoid using an unvented gas or kerosene space heater, carefully follow the cautions that come with the device and keep doors to the rest of the house open. Crack a window to ensure enough air for ventilation and proper fuel-burning.
DON’T idle the car in a garage — even if the garage door to the outside is open. Fumes can build up very quickly in the garage and living area of your home.
DON’T use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
DON’T ever use a charcoal grill indoors — even in a fireplace.
DON’T sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
DON’T use any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, chain saws, small engines or generators) in enclosed spaces.
DON’T ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them. You could lose consciousness and die if you do nothing.
SMOKE ALARMS HELP SAVE LIVES
Approximately two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Since most fatal fires occur at night, it’s essential that every home has working smoke alarms to provide an early warning. Working smoke alarms increase the chance of surviving a home fire by 50 percent.
Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, in the hallways leading to the bedrooms, and on each level of your home, including the basement. Smoke alarms should be mounted on the ceiling 4″ from the wall; wall mounts should be 4-12″ from the ceiling. Do not install near draft areas (windows, vents.). Call your local fire department if you are unsure about placement.
Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, replace only the battery.
Smoke Alarm Maintenance
Test your smoke alarm. A suggested frequency is every month by simply holding down the test button. Vacuum your alarm at least once a year. Dust and cobwebs can impair sensitivity. Never paint over a smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
When the Alarm Goes Off
If the alarm goes off , crawl low to the ground under the smoke and exit your home quickly. Don’t try to take anything with you; just get out. Once safely outside, go to your family meeting place to ensure that everyone got out safely. Once you’re out, stay out! Make sure to prepare and practice an escape plan including a family meeting place. Just like schools practice fire drills, families should also practice what to do if their smoke alarms go off . Remember, every day a smoke alarm saves somebody’s life.
ember, every day a smoke alarm saves somebody’s life.
• Toilets which are manufactured to use more than 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) must be replaced with Ultra-Low Flush Toilets (ULFTs) that use 1.6 gpf or less. Modifications intended to reduce the flow of an existing toilet, such as the use of toilet bags, dams, bricks, or other alternative flushing devices, are not permissible and do not comply with the Code provisions.
• Showerheads that emit more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm) must be replaced with a low-flow showerhead that uses no more than 2.5 gpm. Showerhead flow restrictors are not acceptable. The entire showerhead must be replaced with a low-flow model.
• Sink faucets (bathroom, bar, and kitchen sink faucets) that use more than 2.2 gpm must be retrofitted. Faucet aerators may be installed to reduce the water flow.
• Reverse Osmosis Systems require automatic shut-off valves.
• Urinals that use more than 1.0 gpf must be replaced with low-flush models. The entire fixture must be replaced, not just the flush valve.
Over the past 25 years, numerous retrofit devices for tank-type toilets have been developed, patented, and, in some cases, actively sold in the marketplace. These devices usually fall into one of three categories:
(a) Water Displacement Products
A device designed to reduce the amount water available in the tank for completing the flush, e.g., a toilet “dam” or displacement object (a bag, brick or other item intended to displace a quantity of water in the tank). Displacement products should be used ONLY in toilets with a rated flush volume of 3.5 gallons (13 litres) or above. Use of these devices in lower volume toilets could seriously affect the flush performance of the fixture and could actually result in double-flushing, thus increasing water consumption! Displacement products are considered to be very temporary solutions to a water shortage and have a limited physical lifetime. (The preferred action would be the replacement of the entire water-wasting toilet fixture rather than the temporary “fix”.)
(b) Early-Closing Toilet Flapper
A second device often promoted in the past by water utilities is the early-closing toilet flapper. In this case, the original equipment fully buoyant flapper is replaced by a flapper with reduced buoyancy. The reduced buoyancy causes the flapper to close the flush valve before the tank is entirely evacuated of water, hence the term “early-closing”. As a result, only a fraction of the water in the tank flows through the flush valve to the bowl before the flush valve closes. Many 1.6-gpf (6.0 Lpf) toilets from the 1990s continued to use the high water capacity tanks from the 1980s (3.5 gpf -13 Lpf or more), but employed early-closing flappers to achieve the desired 1.6 gpf 6.0 Lpf) flush volume.
When the early closing flappers were replaced with a fully buoyant flapper designed for a 3.5 gpf (13 Lpf) fixture, the flush volume could easily be increased by 100% or more! This undesirable characteristic led to the development in 2000 of the Los Angeles Supplementary Purchase Specification (SPS) by the water industry and which limited such adjustability.
Early-closing flappers, either as an original trim item in a toilet fixture or as an after-market product for retrofit, are not favored by the water utilities, due to the adjustability (in a new product) and poor flush performance that can result from their use (as a retrofit product). In the latter instance, poor performance frequently results in double-flushing, which can significantly increase water use.
(c) Dual-Flush Conversion Devices
The third category of device is a more recent development. The introduction to North America (in 1999) of the dual-flush toilet stimulated many ‘inventors’ and companies to develop their own products that converted a single-flush toilets to a dual-flush mode. Two types of replacement products are available: a replacement flush valve for gravity-fed toilets and a replacement handle for flushometer valve fixtures. These products generally do not reduce the flush volume of the full flush (1.6 gpf, 3.5 gpf, = 6.0 Lpf or 13 Lpf or some other volume), but rather add the ability to use a reduced volume for liquids only. In most cases, the reduced volume is 50-70% of the volume of the full flush.
To retrofit an existing single-flush gravity-fed fixture, nearly all of the products require the removal of the existing flush valve and replacement with the dual-flush valve. There are many different products available for this purpose, but few have been independently tested to determine their effect upon flush performance. (All, however, should be required to meet the compliance requirements of the ANSI standard ASME A112.19.10 in order to be approved for use in the U.S.).
In the case of flushometer valve fixtures, three products exist in the marketplace that provide for a simple conversion of the valve to dual-flush operation: Sloan Uppercut (www.sloanvalve.com) and Zurn AquaVantage AV (www.zurn.com). Both of these products require to user to lift up on the handle for the reduced flush, and push down on the handle for a full flush. A third product from Advanced Modern Technologies Corporation (www.amtcorporation.com) reverses the direction by activating the reduced flush with a downward action. Each of the conversion products reduces the flush volume for a liquid-only flush by approximately 30%.
Water utilities should be concerned with the ability of retrofitted fixtures to adequately perform on the reduced flush, given that the fixture was not originally intended for that purpose. Issues of customer dissatisfaction could arise over the failure to fully exchange all of the water in the bowl when the reduced flush is activated and, for gravity-fed fixtures, the ability of the device to refill the bowl with the correct amount of water. Furthermore, real world savings resulting from the retrofitting with such devices (which can be quite costly) have not been fully established, nor has the actual cost-effectiveness of such a retrofit.