All of us have heard how a couple, a senior citizen, or an entire family, tragically died in their house due to carbon monoxide poisoning. There is a reason why the gas is called the “silent killer.” According to the CDC, over 400 Americans die every year and over 20,000 are sent to the hospital because of carbon monoxide leaks. This gas is colorless and odorless, so many of its victims are caught unaware — and one of its biggest causes is a malfunctioning furnace.
Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From
Carbon monoxide is a natural by-product of fuel combustion, which means the gas is produced every time your furnace is running. If your furnace is operating properly, the gas will be contained in the heat exchanger, sent through the flue vent and safely expelled out of your home. However, problems with your furnace can cause carbon monoxide to be leaked into your home.
How Can Your Furnace Leak Carbon Monoxide?
A leak can develop if your furnace has become compromised. Untreated wear and tear of your heating system can release deadly levels of carbon monoxide.
Cracked Heat Exchanger
Your heat exchanger is where your fuel combustion occurs. This part is made of metal, which naturally expands every time when your furnace heats up and contracts every time your furnace cools down. If your furnace is old, your heat exchanger is going to develop cracks, which will allow carbon monoxide to leak out and be circulated in your home.
All gas furnaces come installed with a metal flue, which are prone to erosion over time. If your metal flue becomes rusted and develops a hole, it can create risks of carbon monoxide getting into your home, instead of being expelled outside.
If that happens, occupants can feel symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, confusion and become unconscious. If a person faints inside a house filled with noxious gas, it often results in death.
How Can You Keep Your House Safe From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Keeping your furnace up-to-date and in optimum condition via regular tune-ups by a heating and cooling services professional is the best way to avoid carbon monoxide leaks.
Carbon monoxide is also likely to develop when you have a clogged filter and blocked airways. Your furnace is forced to work harder, burn more fuel and as a result, can make your heat exchanger crack, which will leak the deadly gas. Always ask a professional from a heating and cooling services provider to clean out your filters when he comes for maintenance.
Also, install your home with a carbon monoxide detector. Since gas is colorless and odorless, it is difficult to detect and can spread unchecked inside your home. Installing an alarm system allows you to get out in time.
Above all, schedule annual repair and maintenance of your furnace, rather than trying to do it yourself. A heating and cooling services professional from Nelson Comfort can pinpoint the exact location of the fault and fix it before the problem gets worse.
Remember, nothing is more important than the safety of your family.