If you heat your home with Natural Gas, Propane, Oil, wood or any other method that burns some sort of fuel, you are susceptible to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. CO, its element identification, is a By-Product of the combustion of any fuel product after it has burned. If concentrations become high enough in your home it can become deadly. There were several deaths in the Dallas / Fort Worth area just last winter caused by old and faulty home gas heating furnaces. Home heating appliances produce this deadly gas because of poor combustion, leaky vent piping, dirty or clogged burners, etc. etc.

The most common cause for CO to get into your home is a cracked or broken heat exchanger in your gas furnace. Basically, your heat exchanger is what heats the air that travels through your ductwork and heats your home. Most heat exchangers are made of steel tubes or stamped out metal forming what is known as a clamshell. These are stamped out just like a fender on a car and then spot welded together making a sealed compartment.

What You Need to Know About CO

After a time of being subjected to the heat of burning fuel, oxidation or rust forms inside heat exchangers and that causes flakes of metal to fall away. You may have noticed this rusty metal when you look into the burner train of a gas furnace. This rusty metal falling away causes thin areas in your heat exchanger and eventually holes or cracks form.

These holes and cracks allow CO to enter the air stream and into your home through the duct system. Some of the newer furnaces are less susceptible by using stainless steel, or aluminizing the tubing. Some force combustion gases back into the burner train to re-burn them. But none of these features are 100% sure.

Symptoms Of CO Poisoning

Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

If your furnace is 8 to 10 years old or older it’s time to have us inspect it for safety, and it needs to be inspected at least every other year from now on. You also should go to your local Home Center and buy a new Carbon Monoxide Detector. They cost about as much a Smoke Detector and are just as important.

If you have gas heat, you need a CO detector. If you are unsure about this problem, have us out to inspect your furnace and check for CO emissions. If your furnace is more than 15 years old you need to consider replacing it as soon as possible. Your family’s safety is vital; don’t let this odorless, colorless gas harm anyone in your family. Be Safe … Not Sorry.

Tom Durbin

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