Winter is coming and with it an increased risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in residential homes. Fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are often associated with dangers during the winter months, and most people forget about these hazards during the summer. However, fires or CO leaks are just as life-threatening. Disaster can strike at any time, regardless of the season outside. If you use gas, for example, in appliances such as dryers, stoves, ovens or water heaters, you have CO-leak potential.
Carbon monoxide, a deadly gas, is colorless, odorless and tasteless, which makes it hard to detect without the help of a functional carbon monoxide detector. Protecting your loved ones from this silent killer is one of the most important things you can do, and it is relatively simple.
A detector isn’t your only means of preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. There are signs to watch for if you suspect carbon monoxide is leaking into your home and tips to help you lower your risk of poisoning. Keep your family safe when you know what to look for and how to protect them.
Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From?
When carbon-based fuels such as gas, oil, kerosene or wood burn, produce gases. When fuel combustion or burning isn’t complete, carbon monoxide enters the air. When household appliances, such as cookers, heaters, central heating boilers, or furnaces are installed incorrectly, poorly maintained, or poorly ventilated, it can put you and your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Hazards in the Home
Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if you use gas appliances with poor maintenance or a bad component. In the winter, cracked heat exchangers in gas furnaces are a potential carbon monoxide hazard, as the cracks allow combustion byproducts to seep out of the formerly closed system. In good condition, these byproducts safely vent out of your home.
Even gas barbecues create a summertime carbon monoxide poisoning hazard without you realizing it. Some opt to use a gas grill in the garage during inclement weather not realizing the potential for CO seeping into the home. In the event of a power outage, backup generators can leak carbon monoxide.
The best way to keep your family safe is to check your carbon monoxide detectors and ensure your gas appliances are in good condition.
Signs of a Carbon Monoxide HVAC Leak
Many times, CO leaks are present in a home due to a faulty heating system, such as a furnace or boiler, or other gas-fueled appliance. If there are compromised areas in your heating system, CO gas will leak into your home before completing the combustion process.
Carbon monoxide can leak from other areas in your home, besides the heating system. If you notice any of the below symptoms with your furnace or in other areas of the home, leave your home and call Douglas Cooling & Heating to see if the leak is due to a faulty heating system:
- Cracks in the combustion chamber
- Older furnaces with signs of wear and tear
- Leaky seams on furnaces and boilers
- Cracks in the exhaust piping
- A pilot light that frequently blows out
- Yellow burner flame instead of the clear blue flame
- Heavy condensation on windows where appliances are installed
- Fallen soot in fireplaces
- Stale, smelly, or stuffy air
- Brownish-yellow or sooty stains around leaking appliances
- No upward draft in a chimney flue
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms
The other red flag CO is leaking in your home is noticeable symptoms in your body or your pets. Get out of the house immediately if you notice any of the carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms below:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Extreme nausea
- Continuously fatigued
- Prolonged headaches
- Feeling weak
- Enhanced state of confusion
If anyone in your household experiences these symptoms, evacuate the home immediately and call 911.
Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips to Prevent Poisoning
Schedule regular heating maintenance in Birmingham on your equipment to prevent CO poisoning in your house. Douglas Cooling & Heating offers preventive maintenance plans affordable for any budget so you can experience peace of mind day and night.
Routine maintenance calls detect any damage and locate potential problems which lead to CO leaks. Keep your home healthy and carbon monoxide free with our help at Douglas Cooling & Heating.
Another way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to install CO detectors and check them periodically to verify they are working properly. Carbon monoxide detectors emit a signal alerting you when CO is present in your home.
Different detectors vary on how they sound and what sounds alert you to the amount of CO in an area. Check the batteries on your CO detector every month and perform a safety test to make sure the alarm is working correctly.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide HVAC Leaks with Help from Douglas Cooling & Heating
Douglas Cooling & Heating wants to keep your family safe whenever you use your gas heating system. Turn to our NATE-certified technicians for annual maintenance to ensure heating system components are in good working order and not a safety risk when in use. If you suspect furnace malfunctions, contact us for quick and reliable heating repair.