As long as you live in San Diego, it still comes as a surprise when temperatures get down into the 50s during the winter. But it’s getting that time of year again. And colder weather means it’s time to turn on the furnace.
But is your furnace ready? Malfunctioning and dirty furnaces can be a health hazard. According to experts, this everyday piece of household equipment is most common source of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Why You Need to Worry About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Every year, over 400 people in the U.S. die from CO poisoning in situations that are not a result of fires. Over 20,000 need to go to an emergency room, and 4,000 require a stay in the hospital.
Carbon monoxide has earned the label “silent killer.” It has no odor, no color and no taste. Fumes appear whenever fuel is burned in the furnace, gas appliances, fireplaces, lanterns, grills, vehicles and small engines.
It builds up within a home, affecting people and pets breathing in the indoor air. It shows up in a wide range of symptoms, including:
According to Dr. Karen Hacker, head of the Allegheny County Health Department, “Exposure to carbon monoxide can gradually cause a person to become unconscious and eventually die.”
Everyone is at risk, but the very young and old are affected first. It also causes problems for people with chronic heart and respiratory illness and anemia.
Your Furnace and CO Poisoning
When a fossil fuel burns but combustion isn’t complete, the result is carbon dioxide. That can happen in your furnace when it isn’t operating at peak efficiency.
If the operating burner isn’t working effectively or a heat exchanger is cracked, the result can be CO escaping into the air within your home.
Wondering if your furnace is safe? Here are signs of a malfunctioning, dirty furnace:
How to Stay Safe
The first line of defense is a carbon monoxide detector. Experts say every home should have one, just like they do smoke detectors. The units set off an alarm that lets you know CO is in the air.
Equally important is fixing the source of the problem. That means getting an annual furnace inspection and tune-up. A trained technician takes a close look at the appliance, looking for signs of wear and damage, and ensures that components are safe.
The work includes cleaning the furnace, replacing the filter and checking the controls and thermostat settings. The technician tests voltage and inspects the electrical connections. He lubricates the parts and checks for obstructions in the condensate drain. He makes sure the controls for startup and shutdown are in good shape.
Is a Furnace Inspection Really Necessary?
The professional at Emory Plumbing point out that about three-quarters of the “no heat” calls they get each winter are the direct result of poor maintenance. You can ensure not just your family’s health, but also their comfort when you have the furnace looked at by a trained technician before the cold season every year.
It also saves you money in the long term. Just like your car, your furnace needs preventive maintenance. The technician can catch small problems, when they are simple and inexpensive to repair. Regular cleaning and maintenance can also extend its lifespan by many years.
When you get a furnace tune-up, your furnace works more efficiently. It needs to use less fuel to operate, saving you money on your energy bills each month.
Emory, Keeping You Safe and Warm Since 1944
Emory Plumbing has been helping homeowners in the San Diego area for over 70 years. We are a family-owned and operated business, with a reputation for excellent customer service, competitive prices and quality workmanship. Here at Emory, we are experts in heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and damage restoration.
Keep your family healthy and safe this winter. Call Emory Plumbing today to schedule a furnace tune-up.