Cleveland HVAC Blog

Carbon Monoxide:  It's Invisible, but There Are Red Flags

Posted by P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling on Thu, Jan 02, 2014 @ 10:01 PM

carbon-monoxide-warning-1.jpgCarbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat that can make you and your pets sick and in the worst of situations kill. One of the best things you can do to protect your family is to install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. However, there are additional ways you can prevent CO gas from becoming a problem in your home. Although the gas is undetectable via the senses, pay attention to the following carbon monoxide red flags.

  • An odor similar to formaldehyde

  • A chemical odor like this can mean that fuels aren't burning properly. When present these odors signal the potential for improper combustion of fuel which can also create carbon monoxide gas.
  • Burning eyes

  • Do your eyes sting when you're near your heating system? This is another indication that the furnace isn't burning fuel efficiently and may be releasing carbon monoxide.  
  • A change in the color of the furnace flame

  • This often indicates an increased presence of carbon monoxide. NOTE: It is still possible for CO to be present without this color change, so this is not infallible.   
  • Soot

  • A collection of soot on or around furnace components can mean poor combustion and/or clogs in the heating elements, which might also cause a buildup of CO in the home. When soot or masonry is falling down from a chimney, this can indicate several types of problems, including improper ventilation due to a blockage. 
  • Loose connections 

  • Vents, flues and similar components that are damaged or have come loose can release carbon monoxide into the home. These should be repaired quickly.
  • Condensation on interior panes of windows

  • This can be an indication that gasses aren't being sufficiently vented out of the home. this can also be a result of an improperly adjusted or controlled humidifier, so have your professional contractor make this determination. He has sensitive test gear and meters to discern the root cause.   

Whenever you suspect a potential carbon monoxide problem, always have a licensed HVAC service person check the furnace as soon as possible, no matter how recently you last had a furnace inspection. A carbon monoxide detector will let you know when levels reach dangerous levels, but it's best to avoid that scenario by keeping all fuel-burning appliances maintained.

For more information about carbon monoxide red flags or other home safety and comfort issues, please contact us at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We've proudly served greater Cleveland homeowners for more than 77 years.

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Topics: carbon monoxide

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