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Is My Furnace Leaking Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It's odorless and colorless, and unfortunately, a malfunctioning furnace can be a common source of this dangerous gas. While most homes are required to have carbon monoxide detectors in addition to smoke detectors, it’s also important to know what could potentially cause this type of gas leak.

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak from your furnace is crucial, especially during the winter months when you need to heat your home.

studio shot of carbon monoxide detector

Signs of a Carbon Monoxide Leak

As important as it is to know what to do when there is a fire in your home, you should also be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Doing so can save your life. Some of the most common health symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Flu-like symptoms without fever

These symptoms might mimic other common viruses that occur during the winter months but can show up any time of year, suddenly and without explanation. Seeking medical attention is crucial if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning is at play.

Household Signs Indicating High Levels Of Carbon Monoxide

One or more of these signs would indicate a carbon monoxide leak is occurring in your home. Being aware of these can protect your home and health from even bigger problems from occurring:

  • Change in Flame Color: A furnace flame should be blue. If it's yellow, it might be releasing carbon monoxide.
  • Soot Streaks: Black streaks around the furnace or excess moisture on windows and walls nearby can signal a leak.
  • Furnace Problems: Frequent cycling on and off or difficulty starting can be warning signs.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors Going Off: This is an important way homeowners can know what the source of a carbon monoxide leak is. If the closest detector to your furnace keeps alerting you that there is CO in the air, then you should turn off your furnace and contact a heating and cooling professional immediately.

Remember, due to the nature of this gas, sometimes the only indication you’re experiencing a carbon monoxide leak could be the detector going off. As important as it is to change the batteries in your smoke detectors, make sure that you’re also placing fresh batteries inside your carbon monoxide detectors as well.

Can A Furnace Leak Carbon Monoxide When Turned Off?

Yes, a furnace can potentially leak carbon monoxide even when it's turned off. This can happen if there's a cracked heat exchanger. The heat exchanger, a critical part of the furnace, can develop cracks over time due to metal fatigue.

These cracks can allow carbon monoxide to seep into your home, even when the furnace isn't actively running. It's important to note that any fuel-burning appliance poses a risk for carbon monoxide leakage, not just when they're in use, but also when turned off.

Safety Measures While Waiting for a Heating and Cooling Professional

Don’t risk the health and safety of your family when waiting for repairs. If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak is occurring, there are several safety steps you should take while waiting for furnace repairs:

  • Evacuate the Area: If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, leave the affected area immediately. Carbon monoxide is a serious health hazard.
  • Ventilate the House: Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to dilute the carbon monoxide levels in your home.
  • Turn Off Other Fuel-Burning Appliances: To minimize further risk, turn off any other appliances that burn fuel.
  • Don’t Use the Furnace: Until it’s inspected and repaired, avoid using the furnace.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Leaks:

To avoid carbon monoxide issues with your heating and cooling system, it’s crucial to get your system inspected periodically for leaks and other problems.

  • Regular Maintenance: Annual checks by professionals like Dutch Enterprises ensure your furnace is in good condition.
  • Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors In Your Home: These alarms provide an early warning that can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Proper Ventilation: Ensure your furnace area is well-ventilated and the exhaust system is unblocked.

Furnace Maintenance With Dutch Enterprises

Never worry about who you’re going to contact when your home’s furnace breaks down. The team at Dutch Enterprises provides thorough furnace inspections, maintenance, and repairs.

We want to keep you and your family warm, safe, and comfortable all season long. In addition to having technicians that are certified, bonded, and insured, you can expect them to provide:

  • Consistent Heating Power: Ensuring your furnace operates efficiently.
  • Cost-Effective Solutions: Regular maintenance can save you money on energy bills and prevent costly repairs.
  • Expertise and Reliability: With a focus on customer satisfaction, Dutch Enterprises provides fast, effective service, ensuring your furnace is safe and efficient. Our comprehensive maintenance plans keep your furnace in top condition, safeguarding your home against potential carbon monoxide leaks.

Dutch Enterprises takes any issue occurring with your furnace as seriously as possible. To schedule an appointment involving our furnace services, please reach out to our team now.

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