Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent but deadly problem that could strike without warning. In the United States alone, there are an average of 430 deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning each year. Gas and oil-fired furnaces are a common source of carbon monoxide and even the smallest leak from your furnace could place you and others in your home in harm's way.
The following offers a few tips you can use to prevent carbon monoxide leaks:
Invest in Carbon Monoxide Detection
What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous is the fact that it's odorless and colorless, making it nearly impossible to detect based on taste or sight. Fortunately, carbon monoxide detectors are capable of detecting rising carbon monoxide levels in your home's indoor air, allowing you to take steps to protect yourself and other occupants against CO leaks.
If you already have a CO detector installed in your home, it should be tested periodically to ensure that it remains in working condition. Ideally, this should be done on a monthly basis. It's also a good idea to test your smoke detectors while you're at it.
Check for Rust and Corrosion
Rust and corrosion is a common way for carbon monoxide leaks to occur. Your furnace's heat exchanger, for example, can develop significant rust throughout its operating life. The microscopic holes left behind by ongoing rust and corrosion can allow significant quantities of carbon monoxide to escape, which could put your home at risk.
It's important to have your portions of your furnace, especially the heat exchanger and metal exhaust flue, carefully checked for signs of rust and corrosion.
An unexpected change in pressure differential can cause exhaust gases that would normally be expelled outside to be drawn back indoors. This is a situation that's commonly known as "backdrafting" and it can be dangerous for anyone in your home.
The causes behind backdrafting are numerous, which is why you should have your HVAC technician conduct a careful inspection of your furnace. In many cases, flue blockages and improper ventilation are usually the primary causes of backdrafting.
Invest in Annual Maintenance
The importance of regularly scheduled maintenance can't be stated enough, especially when it comes to preventing carbon monoxide leaks. Having your HVAC technician perform an annual inspection of your heating system can help detect problems that could eventually allow carbon monoxide leaks to happen.
In addition, your HVAC technician will also perform preventative maintenance on your furnace, ensuring that it remains in peak condition throughout the winter months and beyond. Contact a company like Scott's Heating & Air Conditioning Services for more information and assistance.