During winter, colder temperatures bring families indoors to enjoy the warmth of a heated home. Unfortunately, each year more than 20,000 people are sickened by carbon monoxide emitted from their furnaces. Tragically, carbon monoxide poisoning kills more than 400 people a year. Keeping your furnace in good repair will prevent the colorless and odorless gas from harming you and your loved ones.
Your body’s red blood cells absorb carbon monoxide more easily than oxygen. As a result, the gas replaces oxygen in the body and starts to destroy tissue eventually leading to death if you don’t remove yourself or the carbon monoxide from the environment. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including headache, fatigue, nausea and confusion, mimic other illnesses, making it difficult to recognize. People over 65 years old are more susceptible to this danger, but a person of any age can be affected.
A gas furnace can be a prime source of carbon monoxide poisoning. There are several signs that your furnace isn’t in working order and needs to be cleaned or repaired before continued use.
Evidence of soot around the appliance is an indication that a carbon monoxide problem may be developing. An increased amount of moisture on walls or windows is another sign, as is water leaking from the bottom of the furnace. The flame burning in your furnace should be blue; if it is orange or red, you have a problem. Likewise, there shouldn’t be a smoky smell in your home. When you detect and odor of smoke while your furnace is running, you need to call a furnace repair company.
One way to ensure your safety is to have your furnace inspected annually before the heating season begins. A heating professional will clean dusty or dirty burners and blower blades. The furnace filter should be replaced every year. If your furnace has a pilot mechanism, it should be inspected to make sure it’s working properly. Most furnaces today use hot surface ignition systems, which must be gently cleaned of residue. The best way to monitor carbon monoxide in your home is with a carbon monoxide detector.
Cracks in the furnace as well as components that are damaged or not functioning will require repair. A qualified furnace repair company handles these types of issues on an emergency basis and offers regular maintenance services, too. It’s a good idea to call Excelsior Mechanical @ 306-652-1795, if you want to be sure your family will stay healthy while using your home’s furnace.