The Weatherization Assistance Program provides weatherization services in a manner that minimizes risk to clients. The Weatherization Assistance Program remedies energy-related health and safety hazards, which are necessary before, or because of, the installation of weatherization materials.
The Weatherization Assistance Program defers work on dwellings without providing weatherization services when problems are encountered that are beyond the scope of the Weatherization Assistance Program. For the policies and procedures for deferral, see Section 5.1.3, Deferral Standards.
When a person’s health is fragile or the work activities would constitute a health or safety hazard, the occupants at risk will be required to leave the home until work is completed. Temporary relocation of at-risk occupants may be allowed on a case-by-case basis, but requires prior written approval from Commerce. Alternatively, the work may be deferred until such time that the conditions or circumstances are more favorable.
Awareness Awareness of potential hazards is essential to providing quality services. DOE’s preferred approaches to common hazards are provided in Weatherization Program Notice (WPN) 11-6. Other energy-related hazards are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Prevention Prevention is the best solution to any health and safety hazard. The Weatherization Assistance Program takes all reasonable precautions when performing work on homes that will subject clients to health and safety risks. Before beginning work on the residence, the agency must take into consideration the health concerns of each occupant, the condition of the dwelling, and the possible effect of work to be performed on any particular health or medical condition of the occupants. See Exhibit 5.S1, Mold Assessment and Release example and Exhibit 5.S2, Pollution Source Survey example.
Policy 9.3 INDOOR AIR QUALITY – MECHANICAL VENTILATION The Local agency must comply with ASHRAE Standard 62.2 – 2016including Appendix A: Existing Buildings to provide mechanical ventilation to alleviate excess moisture and the buildup of indoor pollutants for single family dwellings and small multi-family buildings three (3) stories and less, when performing weatherization activity.
Purpose: This standard defines the roles of, and minimum requirements for, mechanical and natural ventilation systems and the building envelope intended to provide Acceptable Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in low-rise residential buildings.
DOE’s Weatherization Program Notice (WPN) 11-6 available at (http://waptac.org/), allows exception to the implementation of ASHRAE Standard 62.2 as follows:
Implementing ASHRAE 62.2 is not required where acceptable indoor air quality already exists as defined by ASHRAE 62.2.
NOTE: At this time, the State of Washington does not have the scientific data to support the objective determination of Acceptable Indoor Air Quality as required by DOE to allow this exception. Exceptions are not allowed.
Local agency must ensure completion of Mechanical Ventilation Worksheet, pre- and post-weatherization, documenting compliance with ASHRAE Standard 62.2 – 2016 Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Buildings (Appendix A: Existing Buildings). See Exhibit 9.3, Mechanical Ventilation Worksheet Exception: ASHRAE 62.2-2016 – Residential Energy Dynamics (RED) Calc Tool. If RED is used, Commerce may ask Local agencies for calibration to assure consistent results with Exhibit 9.3, Mechanical Ventilation Worksheet.
Whole building (house) mechanical ventilation required: Whole building mechanical ventilation is required to comply with ASHRAE Standard 62.2 including Appendix A: Existing Buildings.
Exception: Whole-building ventilation is not required when Qfan is less than or equal to 15 cfm.
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Whole building ventilation system types A mechanical exhaust system, supply system, or combination thereof must be installed for each dwelling unit to provide whole building ventilation.
The whole building ventilation system must consist of one or more supply or exhaust fans and associated ducts and controls.
Local exhaust fans must be permitted to be part of a mechanical exhaust system.
Outdoor air ducts connected to the return side of an air handler must be permitted as supply ventilation if manufacturer’s requirements for return air temperature are met.
Whole building fan requirements Existing fans: Existing fans providing whole building ventilation (in part or in whole) are exempt from any sone rating (ASHRAE Standard 62.2, Appendix A, Section 4.1).
Newly installed fans: Fans installed to provide whole building ventilation must have a sound rating of 1.0 sones or less as determined by the Home Ventilation Institute (www.hvi.org/)
Exception: Air handlers, HRV/ERVs, inline fans and remote mounted fans are exempt from sound rating requirements if mounted a minimum of four (4) feet from the grill.
Control of whole building mechanical ventilation A readily accessible manual ON-OFF control, including but not limited to a fan switch or a dedicated branch-circuit overcurrent device, must be provided for either intermittent or continuous systems. Controls must include text or an icon indicating the system’s function.
Exception: For multifamily dwelling units, the manual ON-OFF control is not required to be readily accessible.
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Local exhaust in kitchens: A working exhaust fan must be present in kitchens where a gas combustion range, cooktop, or oven is present.
Ventilation level A kitchen exhaust fan installed by the local agency must be Heating Ventilation Institute (www.hvi.org/) rated to deliver a minimum of 100 cfm intermittent at 0.25 inches water gauge or 5 air changes per hour continuous. Kitchen exhaust fans must be rated for sound at a maximum of 3.0 sones, unless their maximum rated airflow exceeds 400 cfm. When existing equipment does not meet this requirement the whole building ventilation rate may be adjusted to overcome the deficit.
Fan rating Exhaust fans installed directly over a range or oven must be rated for installation in this location.
Kitchen fan control Kitchen fans must be controlled by the manufacturer's switch or a wall mounted switch.
Variance #18: DOE granted a variance from SWS Section 6.6201.1a.b Kitchen Fan Airflow Testing allowing: WA allows kitchen fan air flows to be estimated using the air leakage chart, the measured blower door reading and the negative pressure reading from a manometer set to main body WRT to house, in Pascals with the kitchen fan on. See Air leakage chart Local exhaust in bathrooms: A bathroom exhaust fan installed by the Local Agency must be rated to deliver a minimum of 50 cfm intermittent at 0.25 inches water gauge or 20 cfm continuous. When existing equipment does not meet this requirement the whole building ventilation rate may be adjusted to overcome the deficit.
Sound rating: Exhaust fans installed by local agency:
Intermittent: 3.0 sones or less
Continuous: 1.0 sone or less
Energy use Exhaust fans installed to provide local bathroom exhaust must have an operating watt draw of 50 watts or less.
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Bathroom fan control A readily accessible manual ON-OFF control must be provided for each demand controlled mechanical exhaust system. Automatic control devices such as but not limited to the following must be permitted provided they do not impede manual ON-OFF control: humidity sensors, shut-off timers, occupancy sensors, multiple-speed fans, combined switching, IAQ sensors, etc.
Exception: For multifamily dwelling units, an automatic control device must be permitted to override manual OFF control, provided that it does not override manual ON control.
Crawlspace and garage ventilation: Exhaust fans may be installed for operation in crawlspaces or garages to exhaust pollutants and maintain a pressure boundary relative to the dwelling unit. Fans installed must be rated for continuous use. Ventilation flows must not be included in the ASHRAE 62.2 mechanical ventilation calculation. Ducts in the garage and ducts penetrating the walls or ceilings separating the dwelling from the garage must be constructed of a minimum 26-gauge sheet steel and must have no openings into the garage.
Sizing crawlspace and garage fans Local agency must size the fan to maintain negative pressure relative to the dwelling unit during normal operating conditions.
Crawlspace and garage fan controls Exhaust fans installed in crawlspaces must be wired to exhaust continuously with a switch near the fan to allow shut down of fan for maintenance.
Verification of fan performance Local agency must verify that fan performance during normal operating conditions creates a negative pressure with reference to the dwelling unit.
Fan rating Fans installed for the purpose of maintaining a pressure boundary must be rated for continuous operation.
Fan termination point Fans installed for the purpose of maintaining a pressure boundary must not terminate within five (5) feet of a door, window, combustion appliance air-intakes, or fresh air intakes.
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Ventilation system testing: All performance test results must be documented on the Mechanical Ventilation Worksheet and placed in the client file.
All existing and accessible exhaust, supply, and combination systems must be performance tested. Testing must be performed with a flow hood, flow grid, exhaust fan flow meter, or other air flow measuring device used in conjunction with a digital manometer.
When performance testing of the kitchen hood is not practical or possible, one of the following methods may be used to estimate flow:
(a) The airflow rating at a pressure of 0.25 inch wc (62.5 Pa) may be used, provided the duct sizing meets the prescriptive requirements of ASHRAE Standard 62.2 Table 5.3. If airflow ratings for the existing equipment are available at 0.1 inches wc (25 Pa) but not at 0.25 inch wc (62.5 Pa), those values may be used, provided they are reduced by 25%.
(b) Use the Air Leakage Chart on Exhibit 5.S3A in conjunction with blower door measurement, (Tooley chart), or
Clothes dryer fans are not required to be tested.
Newly installed or modified ventilation systems must be performance tested.
(#8 Exceptions, listed above, still apply.) At completion of Weatherization work, all mechanical ventilation rates must be set (adjusted) for run time and CFM to achieve minimum ACH required by ASHRAE 62.2.
Client Education: Provide client with information on function, use and maintenance of ventilation system and components. Include disclaimer that ASHRAE 62.2 does not account for high polluting sources or guarantee indoor air quality.
Variance #4 – SWS Sections 2.0201.1g and 2.0201.3g
Replaces: Policy 9.4 – July 2015 Variance #5 – SWS Sections 2.0203.1a-b, 2.0203.2d-e, 2.0203.4a.b, 2.0203.5c-d, and 2.0205.1
Policy 9.4 COMBUSTION SAFETy testing Testing for Combustion Safety: All homes with combustion appliances must be tested for combustion safety both pre- and post-weatherization work. See Exhibit 5.3.1A, Combustion Safety Test Report and Exhibit 5.3.1B, Combustion SafetyTechnical Support Document, for required form and supporting material.
Pre-Weatherization Combustion Safety Testing Local agency BPI BA certified auditor shall perform a Combustion Safety Test for every combustion appliance prior to installing any conservation measures that alter the building shell, HVAC system, or interior configuration (including comfort air sealing or altering of interior doors) of the dwelling. An Exhibit 5.3.1A, Combustion Safety Test Report shall be filled out for each appliance and be placed in the client file.
Post-Weatherization Combustion Safety Testing Local agency BPI QCI certified inspector shall perform a Combustion Safety Test for every combustion appliance at the conclusion of the weatherization project.
In-progress Combustion Safety Testing Local agency or Subcontractor, trained in combustion safety testing shall perform a worst-case depressurization test Exhibit 5.3.1B, Combustion SafetyTechnical Support Document, page 3and draft testpage 6. Line # 13)at the end of the work day when work has been done that alters the building shell, HVAC system, or interior configuration (including comfort air sealing, altering of interior doors) of the dwelling unit. If the system fails, the local agency shall take immediate action before leaving the dwelling unit to ensure that the occupant's health and safety is not compromised.
Exception: In-progress testing of residential heating appliances during seasonal times of high outdoor temperatures may be deferred as long as all the following conditions are documented and met:
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The heating appliance is turned off and client subscribes they have been informed why they are not to use it.
Local agency shall perform a final and complete Combustion Safety Test for every combustion appliance at the conclusion of the weatherization project.
Variance #5: DOE granted a variance from SWS Sections 2.0203.1a-b, 2.0203.2d-e, 2.0203.4a.b, 2.0203.5c-d, and 2.0205.1 Combustion Safety Testing allowing: WA to add combustion air only when performance testing (worst case draft and depressurization testing and combustion testing) indicates additional combustion air is needed. Draft and Spillage Tests: Local agency shall perform spillage and draft tests for all natural and induced draft space heating systems and water heaters. Draft and spillage shall first be tested under worst-case (Exhibit 5.3.1B, Combustion Safety Technical Support Document page 3) conditions, and then repeated for natural conditions if the appliance fails under worst-case.
Single Chimney with Multiple Appliances When a chimney is shared by multiple appliances, the appliance with the smallest Btu input rating shall be tested first, and remaining appliances shall be tested in order of increasing input rate.
Multiple Fuel Sources Vented into a Single Chimney Multiple fuel sources vented into a single chimney are cause for deferral of services until the situation is corrected.
Draft Testing Local agency shall measure vent draft pressure at steady-state operating conditions of all heating and hot water combustion appliances.
Exceptions: Sealed Combustion or Power Vented (90% +): No draft measurement required. Recommend technician confirm draft at termination. If it is unsafe to access termination point for testing due to the height of the roof or weather conditions an alternative is to access flue products by disconnecting the drain line.
Solid fuel-burning appliances.
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Gas fireplace inserts.
Atmospheric or Natural Draft (70%): Draft testing shall be done in the center of the longest, straightest, accessible section of the vent connector. Holes made for the purpose of measuring draft shall be drilled using 5/16th bit. Once test is complete, seal hole with High Temperature RTV silicone caulk. Cover with aluminum tape or plug with a 3/8 inch tap bolt made of stainless steel or nylon.
Induced Draft (80%): Draft testing shall be done a minimum of three (3) feet downstream of the inducer motor. The preferred location for CO testing is the same hole used for draft testing. Holes made for Draft and CO testing shall be drilled using a 5/16th bit. Once test is complete, seal the inner liner with High Temperature RTV silicone caulk and a 3/8 inch tap bolt made of stainless steel or nylon or seal interior hole with RTV silicone and cover exterior hole with aluminum tape.
Appliances shall draft at or above (i.e. have more draft) the minimum acceptable draft level detailed in Table 1 in the Exhibit 5.3.1B, Combustion Safety Technical Support Document. If the draft test fails, the local agency shall make appropriate repairs before proceeding with weatherization services or defer the project until problem is corrected.
Spillage Local agency shall test for spillage on all atmospheric draft and induced draft appliances. Any appliance that continues to spill flue gases beyond the maximum established time limits identified in Table 2 in the Exhibit 5.3.1B, Combustion Safety Technical Support Document fails the spillage test. If the unit fails, the test shall be done in natural conditions. The local agency shall make appropriate repairs or defer the project until the problem is corrected.
Induced draft heating systems shall be checked for spillage at the base of the chimney liner or flue. If a chimney is shared between an induced draft heating system and a natural draft water heater, spillage shall be checked at the water heater draft diverter.
Exception: Wood stoves and fireplaces shall not be tested for spillage.
Variance #3: DOE granted a variance from SWS Sections 2.0201.1f, 2.0201.3f, 2.0203.2a.c, 2.0203.3c, 2.0203.4c, 2.0203.5a.b, and 2.0203.6c Combustion Safety Testing allowing: WA to continue to use WA Combustion Safety Test Report Form, TSD, and the action levels established by the BPI Building Analyst Technical Standards. WA uses spillage not to exceed one minute.
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Carbon Monoxide Above Acceptable Levels: If CO is above acceptable levels, weatherization funds may be used to clean and repair appliances owned by low-income occupants.
In rentals, if the tenant does not own the appliance, weatherization funds can be used for cleaning, but not for repair.
Carbon Monoxide Tests: Local agency shall perform a CO test in all combustion appliances.
Exception: Carbon monoxide testing of wood burning appliances flue gases is not required.
Local agency shall measure CO in the undiluted flue gases in the flue of the appliance, using a digital gauge that measures in parts per million (ppm). For all combustion appliances, CO shall be measured at steady-state operating conditions. CO levels must be recorded and appropriate actions taken, as detailed in Table 3: Combustion Safety Test Action Level Table.
Atmospheric or Natural Draft (70%): CO testing shall be done in the undiluted flue products at the heat exchanger cell outlets.
Induced Draft (80%): CO testing can be done anywhere in the vent connector or at the vent termination if the appliance is vented by itself. The preferred location for CO testing is the same hole used for draft testing. Holes made for Draft and CO testing shall be drilled using a 5/16th bit. Once test is complete seal the inner liner with High Temperature RTV silicone caulk and a 3/8 inch tap bolt made of stainless steel or nylon or seal interior hole with RTV silicone and cover exterior hole with Aluminum tape.
Sealed Combustion or Power Vented (90% +): CO shall be tested, preferably at the termination. If it is unsafe to access termination point for testing due to the height of the roof or weather conditions, an alternative is to access flue products by disconnecting the drain line
Local agency shall not drill holes in flues for power vented or sealed combustion units. CO shall be measured at the exterior outlet of the flue.
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Gas Ovens: Gas ovens CO shall be tested in accordance with the Exhibit 5.3.1B, Combustion Safety Technical Support Document.
For Action Levels see BPI’s Table 3.1: Carbon Monoxide Test Action Levels for Ovens in the Technical Support Document (Line 18 in Combustion Test Report)
Ambient Carbon Monoxide: Local agency shall monitor ambient CO levels upon entering the combustion appliance zone and during the test period for all appliances. If ambient levels exceed 9 ppm at any time, turn off the appliance immediately and make appropriate repairs. The maximum allowable ambient CO level in a dwelling where weatherization work has been completed is 9 ppm.
Variance #1: DOE granted a variance from SWS Sections 2.0201.1a and 2.0201.3a Combustion Safety Testing allowing: WA to continue to use WA Combustion Safety Test Report Form, TSD, and the action levels established by the BPI Building Analyst Technical Standards. For ambient CO level, WA currently uses 9ppm.
Variance #4: DOE granted a variance from SWS Sections 2.0201.1g and 2.0201.3g Combustion Safety Testing allowing: WA to continue to use WA Combustion Safety Test Report Form, TSD, and the action levels established by the BPI Building Analyst Technical Standards. WA sets CO Action Levels in Table 3 Combustion Safety Test Action Level that range from 0 to >400 with associated actions. After Appliance Replacement or Service: After combustion appliance replacement or service, no additional weatherization work can be done unless the CO levels are within acceptable ranges.
Exception: ovens and ranges
Combustion Appliance Zone Depressurization: Local agency shall perform a worst-case depressurization test in each combustion appliance zone. When combustion appliance zone (CAZ) depressurization limits are exceeded under worst-case conditions, the depressurization shall be brought within acceptable limits as detailed in Table 4: CAZ Depressurization Limits. Exception: If local agency is unable to meet CAZ Depressurization Limits or standards, the reasonable efforts attempted, the actions taken, and the education provided to the client shall be documented in the client file.
Variance #2: DOE granted a variance from SWS Sections 2.0201.1e, 2.0201.3e, and 2.0299.1 Combustion Safety Testing allowing: WA to continue to use WA Combustion Safety Test Report Form, TSD, and the action levels established by the BPI Building Analyst Technical Standards. WA Table 4 CAZ Depressurization Limits range from -2 to -50.
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Documenting Combustion Safety Testing:
Local agency shall document in the client file repairs and the actions taken to correct all combustion safety failures.
Results of pre- and post-weatherization combustion safety report for every appliance tested. See Exhibit 5.3.1A, Combustion Safety Test Report.
Receipts or invoices for any corrective work.
Documentation of installation, location, and model type.
Deferral: If deferral is required, the local agency shall notify the owner/client in writing of the health and safety issue.
Un-vented fuel burning space-heating appliances: Local agency shall not proceed with weatherization of dwellings that have existing un-vented fuel burning space-heating appliances until they are removed. Local agency shall notify the owners and the occupants of any hazards that exist with un-vented space heaters, and of the program requirements that un-vented space heaters be removed before weatherization services can be delivered.
Required equipment: Local agency shall:
Use a digital manometer to perform all pressure diagnostic-testing measurements.
Use a digital CO measurement device that is capable of measuring 1ppm to
Have diagnostic testing equipment calibrated and maintained as recommended by the manufacturer.
Keep on file a record of maintenance and calibration for all diagnostic equipment.
Combustion safety testing and appliance cleaning & repair are allowable costs under DOE, HHS, BPA and MM funds. These measures fall within the total health and safety measures and repairs limits (See Chapter 9, Health and Safety). These measures do not need to be included in the SIR calculation for all fund sources or in the DOE per home expenditure average. See Chapter 6, Allowable Costs, for allowable expenditures.
Specific fund source limitations or allowances are as follows:
BPA: Units must be electrically heated in BPA service territory.