Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and deadly gas – so prevalent and well-known a killer that Ohio law requires all single and multi-family homes that use fossil fuel to have CO detectors installed. The reason is that fossil fuel combustion naturally produces small amounts of CO. Although the levels a well-maintained furnace produces aren’t dangerous, and proper venting should take them out of your home entirely, homeowners should be aware of the signs of a carbon monoxide issue and know how to handle the situation if it occurs.
- While CO itself is odorless, excess CO production can accompany other problems in furnace combustion. If you can smell gas, a formaldehyde-like odor or other burning smells, have your furnace inspected immediately.
- Rusting, water streaking or soot around your furnace often points to damage which can signal a CO leak. Especially check in the case of loose or missing panels, connections or masonry.
- Excessive condensation on the inside of furnace windows may mean that exhaust gases aren’t being properly vented, escaping inside your house instead.
- A loud banging when the furnace ignites could mean improper alignment of furnace components, or it could point to a small explosion inside the furnace as collected gases light up. This can develop into a costly repair order, and should be inspected as soon as possible.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can manifest with flu-like symptoms, including headaches, nausea and dizziness. If you experience these symptom and have any reason to suspect that you may have a carbon monoxide issue in your home, you should exit to clean air immediately and call emergency services. If you smell gas, you should leave the premises immediately and call the gas utility from a safe distance. Do not re-enter your home until given the all-clear.
Carbon monoxide kills hundreds of Americans every year, but with proper preventative maintenance and regularly tested CO detectors, you can keep your home and family safe. To learn more, contact us at Detmer and Sons, Inc. We’re proud to serve homeowners in the Dayton and Springfield areas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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