Carbon monoxide leaks are a severe safety hazard. Proper furnace installation and maintenance can prevent these leaks and help keep household residents healthy and safe. Carbon monoxide in the home can not only detract from the quality of household air, but it can also cause deadly explosions.
Problems that lead to carbon monoxide leaks
Carbon monoxide is present in gas furnaces because it is produced as a byproduct during combustion. Usually, carbon monoxide is contained within the heat exchanger. In a properly functioning furnace, carbon monoxide gas will be safety channeled through the flue pipe and to the exterior of the home through vents.
However, furnaces can develop cracks over time that disrupt the path of carbon monoxide. If a crack develops on either the heat exchanger or the flue pipes, carbon monoxide can seep into the interior air of a home.
Detecting carbon monoxide gas
Unfortunately, it's very difficult to detect a carbon monoxide leak because carbon monoxide gas is odorless and cannot be seen. A detector is necessary for checking if there are harmful levels of carbon monoxide in a home's air.
The fact that carbon monoxide is difficult to detect makes preventing leaks highly important. The following are four steps to fending off the dangers of carbon monoxide leaks from gas furnaces:
Have annual maintenance performed
Annual maintenance is probably the best way to prevent dangerous carbon monoxide leaks. During regular maintenance, a technician will run through preventive measures like cleaning out the system and checking for cracks in furnace components.
Regularly change your furnace's air filter
Sometimes, carbon monoxide leaks occur because air gets backed up due to a clogged filter. Regularly changing a furnace's filter is especially important during the heating season when the furnace is constantly in operation.
Depending on the air quality in your home and the type of filter you have, you will want to change your filter once every one to three months.
Don't try a do-it-yourself installation
Some homeowners attempt to install a furnace themselves to save money. This is not a good idea. While you might be experienced with handling some home improvement tasks yourself, a furnace replacement is something that is best left to the professionals.
Install a detector
If you have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home, you can rest assured that you will know of harmful levels of carbon monoxide in the air before they cause any damage or health problems.