Many homeowners elect not to install a gas furnace in their homes because they worry about carbon monoxide poisoning. The truth is that gas furnaces are safe and offer faster heating, improved efficiency, cleaner burning, and more. Let’s explore how the experts at City Plumbing believe you can ensure safety while heating your home with gas.
What Causes Carbon Monoxide Leaks?
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the burning of fossil fuels. As your furnace burns fuel to heat your home, it releases very little carbon monoxide, which is safely vented out of your home. Carbon monoxide leaks are typically caused by problems with your furnace, like cracks in the flue pipes or heat exchange. Problems with your ductwork and dirty furnace filters can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
People exposed to carbon monoxide might notice a headache, confusion, nausea or vomiting, drowsiness, weakness, achiness, or shortness of breath. Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to carbon monoxide should exit the house or building and seek immediate medical attention. Continued exposure without medical treatment can lead to unconsciousness or death.
How To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
There are several steps homeowners can take to protect themselves and their loved ones from exposure to carbon monoxide.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
According to the International Associate of Fire Chiefs, there should be a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the home (including any basement). Install carbon monoxide detectors right away when buying or moving into a new home.
Change Batteries Annually
Schedule a calendar reminder to change batteries annually, even for hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors. If there’s no power to the detector for whatever reason, it will rely on the battery.
Schedule Annual Furnace Maintenance
Schedule year maintenance with a professional HVAC company. Some of the tasks they’re trained to do that will help prevent leaks include:
- Thoroughly clean the furnace, removing any debris or buildup
- Inspect the furnace for cracks, holes, or leaks
- Repair any areas that need repair immediately
- Inspect ductwork to ensure it’s in working order
- Inspect the filter to ensure it’s being changed regularly and airflow is adequate
Because most leaks are the result of an aging furnace that’s cracked or otherwise compromised, these yearly inspections are irreplaceable.
Change Filters Regularly
Changing the furnace filter every three months ensures adequate air flow and reduces the likelihood of carbon monoxide leaks. Many homeowners build a reminder in their calendars and keep furnace filters on hand so this task isn’t forgotten.
Look for the Warning Signs
Homeowners should keep an eye out for warning signs of a leak, including:
- Heavy condensation on the windows in your furnace room
- A yellow flame on your pilot light instead of a blue flame
- The smell of burning or gas
- Rust on the vent pipe
- A pilot light that keeps blowing out
- Brown or yellow soot stains around the furnace
Exploring furnace installation in the Greater Philadelphia area? Ditch the risks around gas furnaces by taking a proactive approach to furnace maintenance and reap the rewards from the professionals at City Plumbing.