Heating system exhaust raises health concern

Why must furnace be vented to the outside?

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Dear Barry, My home inspector had an edgy debate with the seller of the home I'm buying, and one particular question nearly stumped the inspector. The house has a forced air furnace below the building, and the inspector reported that exhaust was venting into the crawlspace. The seller, however, insisted that a little exhaust in the building might not be a serious problem. He challenged the inspector by asking why it is OK for the kitchen range to vent exhaust directly into the house. How should the inspector have answered this question? – Debbie Dear Debbie, At first glance, this appears to be a perfectly reasonable dilemma: How can it be safe to vent a kitchen range into a house, while exhaust from a furnace or water heater must invariably vent to the outside? Basically, there are two significant variables that affect personal safety when combustion exhaust is vented into a habitable building. The first of these is the relative amount of fuel being burned. The second involves...