Do you have a natural gas furnace working to keep your home warm during winter? Chances are strong that you do, since this type of heating system is the most popular throughout the country, and can provide a level of warmth few other heaters are able to match. However, if you have a gas furnace, thereb s always a potential of carbon monoxide leaking into the house. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas thatb s a byproduct of the combustion process.
Cracked heat exchangers in the furnace
How can CO get inside your home from the furnace? Itb s most likely to occur because of cracks in the furnaceb s heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is the metal chamber where hot combustion gas collects and then transfers its heat to the air from the blower. If this chamber starts to develop cracks, the carbon monoxide thatb s supposed to be vented out of a chimney will instead get into the air blown into the home.
You can avoid trouble from cracks in the heat exchanger by always scheduling annual maintenance for the furnace. A technician will catch when the exchanger is developing corrosion and suggest either replacing the heat exchanger or (in cases of extreme age) replacing the furnace.
Carbon monoxide detectors
Another important way to protect your household from potential carbon monoxide danger is to have CO detectors installed. These devices monitor CO levels and set off alarms when the levels start to rise to the point where they could become dangerous. The alarms will give your household time to leave the premises and then call for help. Although you can purchase CO detectors from stores, these models are not as sensitive as the type that professionals install and may not alert you until the levels of the gas have already risen to harmful levels.