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Furnace Safety and Carbon Monoxide: What You Need to Know Now

Furnace Safety and Carbon Monoxide: What You Need to Know Now

When the temperature drops in Cobb County, make furnace safety a priority in your home.

Furnaces that use fossil fuels, such as heating oil or natural gas, produce carbon monoxide (CO). Because CO is odorless and invisible, it is often described as a “silent killer” and, sadly, hundreds of people die from CO poisoning every year. Even more become sick. Dirty or malfunctioning furnaces are one of the biggest culprits of CO poisoning, so use these furnace safety tips to keep your home warm and safe this winter.

Get It Inspected!

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you have your oil or gas furnace professionally inspected every year and checked for anything that may need repair or replacement. Burners that are dirty from accumulated dust or that are out of alignment affect the efficiency of the furnace. They can also create a CO buildup or even a risk of house fire. An HVAC pro will make sure the burners are cleaned and properly aligned.

Check Out the Chimney!

When you think of furnace safety, you may forget about the chimney. A clogged or dirty chimney is a fire hazard. Moreover, a buildup of soot or debris, such as leaves or even birds’ nests, can keep exhaust from the furnace from leaving your house. This backdrafting may lead to a CO buildup or cause the burners to go out, releasing natural gas into your home.

What Can You Do?

There are a couple things you can do yourself to avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide. One of the most critical steps in prepping your furnace for winter is also one of the easiest: cleaning or replacing your furnace filters. If your system uses disposable filters, replace them monthly, making sure that you’re using the correct model and type for your furnace. Inspect cleanable filters regularly and wash them as necessary.

Another important safeguard is to install a CO detector, which will alert you to any leaks, near your furnace. The CDC recommends a battery-operated or battery back-up model in every room of your home, as well. They should be checked regularly — when Daylight Saving Time begins and ends is the recommended frequency — to make sure they function properly.

Contact Casteel to learn more about furnace safety or our preventative maintenance program. Our HVAC pros are also happy to help you with CO detector recommendations and/or installation.