Carbon monoxide can be a health hazard to people if it's present in the air in sufficient quantities. This dangerous gas interferes with your body's ability to get oxygen to essential organs like the brain and can be fatal. Because it has no taste or odor and cannot be seen, it's important you understand the potential sources of it in your home and take steps to protect yourself.
Carbon monoxide is a by-product of incomplete combustion. This means any appliances that work by burning fuel can add it to the air. When properly working, these appliances limit their contribution of carbon monoxide to your home by burning their fuel efficiently and venting the fumes from combustion to the exterior.
While many people realize the potential of a furnace to cause problems with carbon monoxide in their homes, water heaters are actually the number one source of such problems. This means that even though your furnace won't be running this summer, you still need to be vigilant of the risks your water heater and other appliances may present.
To be sure your appliances aren't posing a danger to your family's safety, you'll want to have a professional do the following:
- Make sure there aren't any leaks in the venting or other parts of your furnace and water heater that could allow gases from combustion into your home. They should also check for rust, corrosion, metal fatigue and other signs that a leak may develop.
- Check that the flame, burners and ignition systems in all gas appliances are working correctly. Flames that are yellow instead of blue can indicate that significant incomplete combustion is occurring. to be completely certain, it is best to use a properly calibrated combustion analyzer to evaluate the combustion process.
- Ensure that pilot lights are operating correctly. This is especially important for gas stoves since they're not vented.
- Examine chimneys and venting systems for blockages.
- Make sure venting and fan systems were installed correctly.
You should also install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas to alert you if problematic concentrations develop.
If you want help ensuring your home provides a safe and comfortable environment free of carbon monoxide, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We proudly provide home performance assessments for homeowners throughout the greater Cleveland area, as well as other HVAC-related services.Follow @PKwadsworth
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.
photo credit: HeatherMG