Protecting Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

If you have a natural gas, oil or wood furnace, it is important to understand the risks of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Every year 400-500 people in the U.S. die from CO poisoning and an estimated 15.000 are treated for exposure at emergency rooms. CO is colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is a by-product of burning fuel. You need to know how to protect your family from accidental CO exposure that can be deadly.

Proper Ventilation

All furnaces need to have the right ventilation and seals in place to prevent CO leaks inside your home. It is critical to have your furnace inspected and services annually to ensure that it is working correctly, including the ventilation system.

Use a CO Detector

All homes should have a CO detector, especially those with fuel-fed furnaces. Make sure to check your detectors periodically to ensure they are working. Detectors should have a battery-backup if they are plugged in; make sure to change the batteries as needed.

Carbon Monoxide Exposure Symptoms

You should know the early signs of CO exposure. Dizziness, headaches, tightness in the chest, fatigue and nausea are common symptoms – children are more likely to show effects first. If there are any signs of CO exposure, exit the home immediately and seek medical care. You should also call your local HVAC service company to have your home tested for CO. If there is CO detected in your home, you may need your furnace serviced or repaired.

Awareness is key in protecting your family from carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure to keep up with furnace and CO detector maintenance to prevent CO poisoning in your home.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
Marietta, GA 30066
(770) 505-7426

Regular Gas Furnace Inspections

Gas furnaces are an excellent means to heat any home, because it cost effective.  In addition, homeowners like because it feels warm to their skin due to the temperature that the air comes out of the vents.  In general, a gas furnace takes cold air and cleans it via an air cleaner and then warms it up with a gas burner utilizing a steel heat exchanger.  The warm air is then distributed throughout the home via metal ductwork.  Although the operation of a gas furnace is a relatively simple process, it is critical that gas furnaces be regularly serviced and inspected for problems by a licensed and qualified HVAC contractor.  

One of the things that the service technician will be looking for during their inspection is proper ventilation of the furnace, as well as any holes in the heat exchanger, both of which will allow carbon monoxide to escape into the home.  Carbon monoxide gas, which is clear and odorless, is a created as a result of the heating process and is responsible for hundreds of deaths every year.  In the event that an issue is found, the technician will take steps to correct the problem with the ventilation system, as well as the heat exchanger.  It is also recommended that homeowners install carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home to warn of the presence of the gas. 

Regular inspections of gas furnaces are recommended to not only extend the life of the furnace, but also to identify the presence of life threatening carbon monoxide leaks.  An inspection, which is economical and quickly performed, should be scheduled with a qualified and licensed HVAC contractor before the beginning of each heating season.  Carbon monoxide is not to be taken lightly!