Montgomery County’s Advisory Committee on Consumer Protection has issued a report regarding the installation and inspection of gas appliances. A joint investigation by the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) found that a majority of gas appliances installed in Montgomery County during a test period had not been properly inspected following installation.
The regulatory code for gas appliances in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties is enforced by WSSC and applies to water heaters, furnaces, ranges, grills, generators, clothes dryers and fireplaces. The WSSC code requires that all gas appliances be installed by a licensed gas plumber/gas fitter after a permit has been obtained. The code further states that an inspection with WSSC must be scheduled within five days of the installation. The failure to have gas appliances inspected in a timely fashion is both a violation of the law and a potential safety hazard.
After reviewing comments from consumers, retailers, Fire and Rescue Services and WSSC, the advisory committee made the following recommendations:
• Expand the hours and days for WSSC inspections;
• Provide a longer period of time for WSSC inspections;
• Raise consumer awareness;
• Enforce the existing rules;
• Audit a small percentage of permits;
• Change the existing rules to require more WSSC involvement throughout the process; and
• Undertake a broad survey of other jurisdictions to determine best practices.
The report can be viewed in its entirety at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer. Click on Advisory Committee on Consumer Protection on the right side of the page.
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is proposing to amend and update the 2011 WSSC Plumbing and Fuel Gas Code and is currently seeking input from the public on the proposed changes.
OCP, the County’s consumer protection agency, investigates thousands of complaints each year involving automotive sales and repairs, new home purchases, home improvements, credit issues, retail sales, internet services and most other consumer transactions. The Advisory Committee on Consumer Protection is comprised of nine members appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council. The committee meets monthly and provides advice to OCP in carrying out its duties and functions.
For more information call the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636.
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