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The Dangers of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide

Home heating is the cause of up to 56,000 home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning kills up to 400 people per year. There are several ways that your HVAC system can contribute to these serious dangers to your family’s health and safety. This week, our blog discusses the biggest fire hazards that come from your furnace/system and also how carbon monoxide poisoning can occur in your home.

Smoke and Fire Hazards

The leading cause of HVAC fires come from electrical wiring. As the wires in your system age, they become loose causing the furnace to work harder. This burns the wires up, unfortunately causing furnace fires. Other causes of fire hazards are gas pressure and connections, a crowded furnace, leaking fuel lines, and cracked heat exchangers.

The best advice we can give to avoid fire hazards from your system is to have it maintained at least once per year, although twice annually is advised. Technicians check electrical wiring, heat exchangers, clean heating coils, and more during a maintenance call. This is the best defense against something going wrong when least expected. Also, make sure that the furnace isn’t overcrowded by moving objects placed near it to at least three feet away. If you smell gas in your home, the first thing you should do is evacuate and call your local fire department and your gas company to have the gas shut off as soon as possible.

Carbon Monoxide the “Silent Killer”

Carbon monoxide is a gas that is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. This gas is known as “the silent killer” because, by the time you notice the symptoms of poisoning, it’s more than likely too late. The usual symptoms of poisoning from carbon monoxide are

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Upset Stomach
  • Hallucinations
  • Vomiting
  • Chest Pain
  • Confusion
  • Death

The leading cause of carbon monoxide poisoning is faulty heating systems. While there is no way to stop the production of gas produced by mechanical systems, there is a way to protect yourself and your family from the effects of it. Firstly, as mentioned in the previous section, have your system maintained (in the fall) at least once per year to ensure that all of your system’s parts are repaired and in good shape for the cold months to come. Secondly, install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. It is suggested that the detectors should be placed on each floor of the home, and outside of sleeping areas. Since these monitors should not be used instead of smoke alarms, it is advised that you purchase a combination of both, like the Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm that we usually have in stock, here at Middleton.

Middleton Heat & Air is dedicated to the overall safety and comfort of your family throughout the year. We can help you to avoid the “silent killer” and smoke or fire from harming your loved ones by installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home. If you would like to learn more about our products and installation, contact us online or by phone at 1-800-404-0371.

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