Most people have some familiarity with carbon monoxide and its dangers, but a surprising number of homeowners are unaware that their heating system is producing it. If your home has a gas-burning furnace, your heating appliance is regularly producing this highly toxic gas. The colorless, odorless gas is a byproduct of the constant combustion process taking place while your furnace is working.
When everything’s in good shape and running smoothly, this doesn’t cause a problem. By design, the carbon monoxide stays contained within the furnace’s heat exchanger, and then, it travels through the flue pipe and out of the house via your home’s ventilation system. However, there are a number of potential problems that can lead to a dangerous amount of this gas being released into the living space of your home. To keep yourself and the members of your household as safe as possible, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping up with the preventative measures available to avert a leak.
Knowing the Symptoms of Exposure
Even when you’re doing everything that you can to prevent a carbon monoxide leak, you should still be aware of the symptoms of exposure to this invisible threat. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be very harmful and even fatal. If you notice yourself or a family member experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, you should remove yourself from the home and call for medical attention as quickly as you can.
- Extreme nausea
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual fatigue
After you are outside and you’ve called for medical attention, contact your local fire department. They will help you address the carbon monoxide leak and let you know when it’s okay to go back into your home.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Although having a working carbon monoxide detector can’t prevent a leak from happening, it can give you a much better chance of avoiding serious harm in the event of one. Every homeowner should have one of these detectors in their home, especially if they use a gas-burning furnace. As soon as the mounted device detects an abnormal level of the toxic gas in the air, it will begin loudly alerting the household. Don’t forget to replace the batteries before they get close to running out of juice.
Scheduled Furnace Tune-Ups
Preventing carbon monoxide leaks is just one of many important reasons to stay on top of scheduled furnace maintenance. If possible, you should bring in a professional for one of these visits at least once every year. During these tune-ups, the technician will be making adjustments to the furnace to improve its performance and energy efficiency. A furnace that’s struggling to do its job will naturally be more susceptible to a furnace leak, but these tweaks should restore the appliance closer to peak levels of operation.
The heating professional will also inspect the furnace for any red flags. If the heat exchanger or flue pipe is damaged or close to becoming worn out, they’ll see it and have the opportunity to get ahead of the problem. They’ll also ensure that no other components are in poor condition or in need of replacement; in some cases, a separate part of the furnace can actually crack the heat exchanger by coming loose and bashing into it. Staying consistent with these tune-ups not only saves you money in the long run, but it also gives you a much better chance of keeping that carbon monoxide contained.
Working With Dependable Installation Experts
One important step toward avoiding carbon monoxide leaks is the one you take when you first have your furnace installed. Make sure that you only employ trustworthy and reputable installation experts to put in your new heating system. When you go with trusted technicians like the ones on our team at Polar Air & Heating, Inc., you’ll at least know that the unit has been installed properly.
Unfortunately, it’s a relatively common occurrence that inexperienced technicians make certain mistakes when setting up the new appliance. In some cases, the blower motor may be installed incorrectly, which can result in problems during the process of venting out carbon monoxide. If a company is offering cheap furnace installation, it can be tempting to jump at the chance to save some money. However, it’s important to keep in mind that it could end up costing you more money in the long run anyway, and there’s a chance it could even jeopardize your safety. There are many reliable, experienced heating installation companies out there; as long as you do your homework and check the company’s reputation ahead of time, you should be just fine.
Replacing the Air Filter Regularly
One way that carbon monoxide can leak from your furnace is when a backup of airflow is created. Essentially, this means that the heating system is trying to circulate air to warm your home, but something is preventing it from doing so. In some cases, this can result in excess carbon monoxide building up or certain components of the appliance being damaged. A clogged air filter is one of the most common ways that this airflow blockage can occur. Your furnace needs to be able to smoothly pull air through that filter, but when neglected, the filter can become overly packed with things like dust and dirt. This makes it much harder for the furnace to circulate air, and that’s when you start to have these problems.
All you need to do to prevent this is keep a watchful eye on your HVAC filter. Create a routine of checking it every month, and don’t hesitate to switch it out for a clean one when those contaminants really start to build up. New air filters are inexpensive, especially when compared to the damage that can occur if you leave yours unchecked for too long.
Cleaning Your Indoor Vents
Another potential cause of an airflow backup is clogged air vents inside your home. These are the vents that your furnace uses to distribute warm air, but it’s a common occurrence for dust and debris to build up inside of them. Granted, a little bit of dust is no big deal. However, if enough accumulates to clog up the vents or ductwork, it can back up the system and potentially result in a carbon monoxide leak. Use a vacuum hose to clean these vents every couple of months, and don’t forget to also have your ductwork cleaned and inspected every year.
For reliable heating and cooling services in the Greater Las Vegas, NV, area, you can count on our skilled team at Polar Air & Heating, Inc.. Some of the other quality services we offer include indoor air quality solutions, commercial refrigeration, and HVAC equipment for new construction. We have been proudly serving the people of this region since 1998, and we will always go the extra mile to meet your individual needs. We’re available 24/7 for emergency repairs, and you can trust that each task will get our full attention from start to finish. Reach out to us at Polar Air & Heating, Inc. today to find out more about what we offer.