Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas produced by furnaces. It’s a by-product of fuel combustion in the furnace that flows through the home via the flue pipe. A malfunctioning furnace can cause this gas to leak and build up in your indoor air. Here are the following warning signs that carbon monoxide is leaking in your McMurray, PA, home.
Signs of a CO Leak
CO is a toxic gas whose threat increases due to its colorless, odorless composition. It’s impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide detector. Worse, excessive CO buildup is fatal.
Most don’t detect CO leaks until it causes serious internal injuries or fatalities. Thus, you’ll need a detector, and you’ll need to know the warning signs of leaking. Common warning signs of leaking and concentration include:
- A constant burning smell from your HVAC system
- Soot or brownish stains around the furnace or fireplace
- On old furnaces, CO causes pilot lights to blow out frequently
- A frequent exhaust or gaseous smell (sometimes accompanies gas leaks)
- Heavy condensation on windows and gas appliances
Even small CO leaks can be hazardous and compromise indoor air quality (IAQ). If you suspect carbon monoxide has compromised your indoor air quality, contact an HVAC professional for advice or an inspection.
Signs of CO Poisoning
Poisoning is a grave threat posed by CO leaking. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of carbon monoxide causes this issue. The effects can be life-threatening but often range from minor respiratory disturbances to severe brain damage.
Early signs of CO poisoning include dizziness, fatigue, a dull headache and shortness of breath. Continued exposure worsens symptoms and brings new ones like nausea, vomiting and blurred vision. Exposure to high concentrations or prolonged exposure causes all these symptoms plus confusion and unconsciousness.
To avoid CO leaks and poisoning, practice CO safety. This means:
- Installing and periodically checking a carbon monoxide detector
- Never use grills inside the home or in unventilated areas
- Getting an annual HVAC inspection
- Addressing furnace problems immediately
Inspection and maintenance are the first lines of protection against CO leaking. To ensure your furnace is safe and functioning properly, contact Woodruff and Smith Heating and Cooling, Inc. for a maintenance checkup.
Image provided by iStock