Is it just a summer flu or something more? It may be worth your time to check the quality of the air inside your home. Indoor air pollution can play a major role in many respiratory complications. In addition to tobacco smoke, paint chemicals, and fumes from new items like carpeting and furniture, the gases produced by combustion appliances can worsen your home air quality. Providing good ventilation in your home and using your appliances correctly reduces your exposure to pollutants.
Gas- or propane-fueled stoves, furnaces, and dryers all produce gases that can contribute to indoor air pollution. When properly installed and vented, these appliances are completely safe to use. Regular maintenance by a trained technician and regular monitoring – every house should have a carbon monoxide detector – will ensure that they stay safe.
What can you do? Read the instructions to all of your appliances, so you understand how they work. Keep the manual in a place where you can find it (or you can give to your HVAC technician for reference) if you need it. Follow all of the warnings – failing to do so could increase indoor air pollution and harm your family’s health.
A word of warning: if you ever smell a suspicious gas, allow the contaminated air to escape by opening the windows and doors, turn off your appliances, and leave the house.I If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, leave your house and get fresh air immediately. Then call the local fire department to access the situation. High levels of carbon monoxide affect you thinking process, can render you unconscious quickly and can be very dangerous.
While incidents like this are rare, it highlights the importance of buying well-built combustion appliances and installing them properly.
Here are some guidelines to choosing combustion appliances that will help reduce indoor air pollution:
- Buy a vented appliance if at all possible.
- Consider gas appliances that use electronic ignitions instead of pilot lights. Pilot lights continuously burn fuel and can lead to an increase in indoor air pollution.
- Look for labels that show Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and American Gas Association (AGA) certifications.
- Make sure the appliance has a safety shut-off valve or device.
- Buy an appliance that fits your home, not only to reduce pollutants, but to reduce wasteful fuel consumption.
Before buying any appliance, talk to your dealer or an HVAC professional about the size and type you need. You may even be able to contact the manufacturer directly if you have further questions. Ensuring you have the appropriate combustion appliance properly installed will reduce indoor air pollution, and helP.K.eep you and your family safe.