What Are Some Signs Of Carbon Monoxide Hazards With Faulty Furnaces And Gas Appliances?

What Are Some Signs Of Carbon Monoxide Hazards With Faulty Furnaces And Gas Appliances?

March 27, 2023

What Are Some Signs Of Carbon Monoxide Hazards With Faulty Furnaces And Gas Appliances?

Normally, most fuel-burning equipment (natural gas, gasoline, propane, fuel oil and wood) produces little carbon monoxide when properly installed and serviced. However, when venting is improperly installed or there is a shortage of oxygen to the burner, carbon monoxide can build up to dangerous levels. The symptoms can be mild or severe, depending on the level of exposure.

Suspicious Smells

The smells of burning fuel are one of the most common indications that there are problems with your furnace or gas appliances. These can be dangerous and cause carbon monoxide poisoning, so you should always take any odors seriously. When your furnace turns on for the first time each season, you will probably notice a distinctive smell as dust burns off of it. This is normal, but if the smell persists for a long period of time, it could indicate that your furnace needs a tune-up or cleaning. If the smell is of burning rubber or plastic, it could be an indication that a filter has become blocked. This should be fixed immediately. A metallic odor, however, could be a sign of an electrical short, which can be dangerous and should never be ignored. Similarly, the smell of oil can be a signal that a tank or pipe has leaked. This should be addressed immediately to prevent serious damage and potential carbon monoxide leaks.

Unusual Symptoms

If your faulty furnace or gas appliances are producing carbon monoxide, the resulting poisoning can be very serious. The odorless and tasteless gas can cause headaches, dizziness, weakness, stomach problems, vomiting and confusion. In severe cases, the resulting effects on brain function can be irreversible. The most obvious sign of carbon monoxide poisoning is a person’s flushed, cherry red skin color. This is caused by a high concentration of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood. Many people may mistake these symptoms for the flu and ignore them, unaware of the fact that they are developing CO poisoning. The longer the symptoms remain untreated, the more likely it is that they will cause death.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Accumulation

The most obvious way to prevent the accumulation of carbon monoxide in your home is by having your fuel-burning appliances and vents inspected on a regular basis. Even normally safe appliances can present a CO risk if they are not ventilated properly. And while it is important to ensure that your fuel-burning appliances are well-maintained and vented, a yearly inspection by a qualified professional is a must for the safety of you and your family. This inspection will include testing your CO detectors and other potential sources of carbon monoxide.

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