Tankless water heater kills Ohio family
The DIY installation of an unpermitted tankless water heater is suspected in four deaths
By Robert Koci
The dislodged exhaust pipe of a tankless water heater installed by homeowner Richard Reitter in December last year appears to have allowed excessive carbon monoxide to leak into Reitter’s home, killing Reitter, his wife, their two teenage children, and the family’s three dogs. There was no carbon monoxide detector in the home.
According to Genoa Township police, CO levels registered at approximately 1100 ppm when first responders were called in. The maximum allowed by law in the U.S. is 35ppm. over 400ppm is considered potentially fatal.
On May 3 Genoa Township Police Department had the hot water heater and furnace examined by a forensic engineering company. When an operational trial was initiated the water heater immediately began emitting high levels of carbon monoxide. Testing had to be stopped before it was possible to conclude if the cause of carbon monoxide was faulty installation or a faulty unit; that determination will require more extensive testing. The furnace was found to be in good working order. There is no evidence indicating the hot water heater had been tampered with by any person(s).