Most of the country is enduring a harsh cold spell at the moment, and those of us in Minnesota are definitely feeling it as well.
Dangerous conditions equal stalling cars, school cancellations, icy roads… yeah, most of us would rather stay safely indoors during weather like this.
But while we may be inside our (hopefully) warm homes, safety should always remain top of mind. This is especially important when it comes to our heating systems, since gas leaks can result in deadly outcomes and consequences.
So how do you know if your furnace is at risk of a gas leak and how can you prevent carbon monoxide poisoning? Here are some precautions to take:
Don’t worry, you don’t have to become an expert on furnaces. (That’s what we’re here for, after all!) Just make sure you know the basics:
- How old is your furnace?
- When was it inspected last?
- Have there been any repairs or replacement parts and when?
Knowing the answers to these basic questions can make all the difference when you’re wary of gas leaks.
And we can’t stress this enough – know the warning signs and physical symptoms that could indicate a gas leak. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: a burning sensation in the nose or eyes, frequent headaches, confusion, blurred vision, or flu-like symptoms.
This step entails more than just taking a quick once over of your heating unit or around your home. It’s important that you regularly inspect your furnace, especially if it’s an older model (installed more than 15 years ago).
So what should you look for?
Just the color of the burner can tell you a lot – if the flame is yellow instead of blue, this is a strong indicator of a carbon monoxide leak. Other possible warning signs include the presence of soot near the furnace, substantial rusting on flues or pipe connections, or excessive moisture on windows, walls, or other cold surfaces.
Additional safety measures can be taken by having a heating professional conduct a thorough inspection and tune-up of your furnace. For instance, tiny holes or cracks in your unit’s heat exchanger can allow gas and carbon monoxide to seep into your home. A technician thoroughly inspect and clean your unit to help prevent this from occurring.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: furnace noises should never be ignored.
Certain sounds not only indicate whether repairs or replacements are needed, but those annoying bangs, pops, hisses, or rattles can also result in gas leaks as well.
Above all, don’t take any chances. Purchase a carbon monoxide detector for your home if you don’t already have one. And if you suspect a gas leak in your home, seek help and call your HVAC professional immediately for assistance.
Safety may never take a holiday, but you deserve to stay warm in the process.