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Carbon Monoxide and HVAC: A Safety Primer for Fall

It’s Time to Check Your Detectors for Peace of Mind

Winter is almost here. Soon, the temperature will get pretty darn cold, especially at night, and turning on the furnace will seem like the most sensible thing to do to keep your home and workspace comfortable. Before you do that, however, do us a favor.

Check your carbon monoxide detector batteries. Change them, if necessary. Don’t own a carbon monoxide detector? Buy several, today.

Don’t get too cozy! Have you checked your carbon monoxide detectors lately?

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

Colorless, tasteless and without smell, carbon monoxide is only detectable by the symptoms it leaves in its wake, assuming you don’t own a detector. We’re talking about symptoms like death…. or in lesser amounts, feelings of lethargy, breathing difficulties, chest pain, headaches, or nausea. In fact, many people think they’re coming down with the flu when the reality is far more lethal. Even cats and dogs can suffer deafness, seizures, weakness or trouble walking when they have been exposed. You’ll notice many of these problems, however terrible, seem pretty common. This is part of what makes carbon monoxide poisoning so dangerous: the damage it’s doing may not be immediately evident, or it is blamed on other things.

Furnace Performance Is Critical

For many, the furnace is what separates us from the Stone Age. How lovely it is to simply set a thermostat and voila! A warm and cozy home. However, without proper maintenance, regular inspections and appropriate safety equipment, your furnace can become a deadly weapon in your home or office, poisoning your employees, your family, and your pets.

Every gas furnace produces some level of carbon monoxide. It’s just an organic by-product of incomplete combustion. When a furnace is doing what it is supposed to, your vents carry away the small amounts of this dangerous gas that are created and release it to the outside. Some newer heating units even feature devices that shut off the system if carbon monoxide is detected.

Older HVAC Equipment, More Frequent Problems

However, not everyone has a brand new furnace. In fact, most homes and office buildings have units more than five, ten, even fifteen years old. No matter how good the equipment, sooner or later you can expect to see wear and tear on the system, all of which can spell problems in its performance, and more carbon monoxide generated. Tiny, visually undetectable cracks in the combustion chamber, dried out lubrication elements on the motors and their parts, and even dirty furnace filters can, in turn, result in carbon monoxide leaks into your home or office space.

Along with keeping combustible materials like turpentine, gasoline or other flammable items away from your furnace, it’s critically important to inspect your system every year for these kinds of problems. Not only will your system run more efficiently (and cost less money) throughout the colder months, but also you’ll be protecting yourself from a deadly gas with devastating effects.

And check or install those detectors in your home or office. It’s a small detail that can nevertheless save lives, prevent illness and give you peace of mind.

Need help with your furnace maintenance? Call Air-Tro today for service. We’ve been keeping the San Gabriel Valley comfortable since 1969! (626) 357-3535.