Is Your Furnace Leaking Carbon Monoxide? Warning Signs To Watch For!
Keep your family safe this winter season!
This has been a historic weather month here in North America, but the really historic and shocking thing is that the historic weather hasn't taken place here.
It has been happening far to the south of us in Texas and much of the southern United States.
This week's news has highlighted just how devastating it can be to go into a major winter storm warning unprepared. Loss of power, heat, water, shelter - these events can quickly turn deadly.
One of the worst perils is also the least likely to introduce itself. It is silent, odourless, colourless and quite capable of claiming lives in minutes. This killer is called carbon monoxide.
This week, NPR called carbon monoxide poisoning a "disaster within a disaster," with more than 450 reported incidents in the last week. In this post, find out how to tell if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide and stop it before it is too late.
If you are worried about a carbon monoxide leak in your home right now, contact Bi-temp Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning in Belleville immediately! Our team of technicians will ensure that this is fixed as soon as possible for you.
With families coming together to stay indoors this winter, due to both the extreme weather and the pandemic, keep your family safe this winter is a huge priority! We can help!
Questions to Ask About Furnace Carbon Monoxide Leaks
During the warm season, we all tend to forget our furnace even exists. But when our longest season of the year arrives, suddenly our furnace is the star.
We rely on our furnaces to keep us warm and safe. But in order for your furnace to do its job, you need to know how to tell when operating your furnace is becoming dangerous.
Asking these questions can help you identify if your furnace may be leaking carbon monoxide.
1. How are you and your family feeling?
Major carbon monoxide leaks kill quickly. Often affected individuals don't even really have time to link their health symptoms to CO leaks before it is too late.
Smaller leaks, however, are much more likely to produce low-grade chronic health symptoms that don't resolve no matter what you do.
Common carbon monoxide-related health symptoms include:
- Flu symptoms
- Mental fogginess
- Chronic headaches
- Burning eyes or nasal passages
- Chest pain
- General confusion
- Gastrointestinal upset
From this list, it is easy to see why you might miss the warning signs and think you have allergies, a cold or the flu.
2. How old is your furnace?
According to Energy Star, the average furnace will run for up to 15 years before it is time to start seriously thinking about a replacement.
There are a number of smart reasons to consider replacing an older furnace:
- Rising energy bills and furnace repair costs
- Inefficient or noisy operation
- Uneven airflow
- Uncertainty about how long the unit will last
These can all be good reasons to replace your furnace!
But the best reason is when you have answers to other questions you will find here that all add up to a furnace that could potentially cause more harm than good.
3. What colour is the furnace pilot light?
Simply having a pilot light is already a warning signal that your furnace is past its expiration date. In most cases, old school pilot light furnaces are upwards of two decades old!
If you do have a pilot light furnace (whether constant or intermittent), the furnace light should always be a blue colour.
If you see any other colour (yellow being the most common) this is a warning sign of incomplete combustion.
Incomplete combustion occurs whenever the conditions are not optimal to allow complete consumption of fuel. When incomplete combustion is occurring, two things happen:
a) The pilot light changes from a blue colour to a different colour.
b) By-products produced include carbon monoxide.
4. What do you hear when your furnace cycles on and off?
All types of furnaces will make noise occasionally. Even the quietest units may rumble or hum a bit when cycling on or off.
But if your furnace sounds like you have a family of raccoons (or elephants) trapped inside, or if you hear clangs, bangs, knocks, rattles, whines and/or similar sounds, these are all indicators something is amiss inside your unit.
5. How much are you paying for heat-related energy bills?
Many different things can trigger an increase in heating bills:
Rising energy costs
Increased furnace usage
Air leaks inside your space
An aging furnace
All of these can drain your wallet during the winter season!
But the most concerning reason is when you have incomplete combustion, which requires more and more energy input to produce the same heat output.
And along with that heat output, you will be getting a side order of carbon monoxide.
6. What was your last major furnace repair or furnace maintenance need?
One of the best ways to determine whether your furnace is getting close to replacement age is when you see repairs that escalate in cost and seriousness.
7. When was the last time your furnace had a tune-up and safety inspection?
Every year, many people move into a home with an existing furnace that has a sketchy maintenance history.
Did your home's previous owner provide you with any maintenance and safety inspection records?
If the answer is no, you want to get this done as quickly as you can.
Does Your Furnace Have a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide detectors are not only your best defence against carbon monoxide off-gassing. They are also your only defence.
Because carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless, there is literally no way you can determine levels inside your home or workplace without a detector.
Carbon monoxide detectors save lives every single year.
When you have your regular furnace tune-up and safety inspection, be sure to have your carbon monoxide detector inspected too.
Bi-Temp Handles All Your Quinte Furnace Repair, Maintenance and Installation Needs
If you need us, we are on call for you with 24/7 emergency repair services.
Call us at 1-613-967-1066 or visit us online. (When you call, ask us about our COVID-safe contact-less service, payment and invoicing options.)