As winter comes in strong and the holidays come and go, the average American won’t think twice about cranking the heat up. It’s chilly, noses are running and nothing feels better than that first draft of warm air flowing through the vents on a cold morning. Gas-powered furnaces are one of the most common appliances used in the United States for keeping homes toasty warm. Even though they keep us warm through those cold harsh nights, when not used or maintained properly, furnaces can actually be the cause behind extremely dangerous and potentially fatal problems to the house and all who reside there. It should be on the top of homeowners “to-do” list, to educate themselves on furnace maintenance and care in order to prevent potential hazards a furnace can bring. In this article, we explore the causes of furnace hazards, and what can possibly be done to avoid them.
The leading cause of accidents involving gas furnaces are broken or malfunctioning parts within. Although it does vary case to case, there have been situations where furnace hazards were caused by mistakes made by manufacturers themselves. Older furnaces that do not comply with current standard safety codes have a higher risk of coming into a furnace hazard simply due to their dated technology. Another risk associated with gas furnaces is not having them correctly rated for the building or home that they are placed in, which could result in the production of far too much carbon monoxide for the building size, leading to a fatal mistake.
The most common of consequences when using a faulty or unmaintained furnace is a house fire. When too much carbon monoxide is leaked into the air, it will begin to build up rapidly. it is a very flammable substance, and can quickly combust causing a fire within the building.
Even if an explosion does not occur, the excess gas released into the air is extremely toxic and can cause people to quickly become sick without realizing why. The symptoms which come with gas exposure include unexplained pains, depression, digestive problems, to nausea, allergies, fatigue, and many more even more serious symptoms.
With the release of too much carbon monoxide into the air, and residents inhaling it, residents of the home can quickly become deprived of oxygen. With their oxygen supply being depleted the symptoms that will come along with it include: headaches, nausea, dizziness, convulsions, breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, and in some cases can even become fatal. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning depend on the concentration of the gas that has been released into the air.
Finally, even without any carbon monoxide leaks, just by not having your furnace maintained properly, people can also become victims of respiratory problems, such as asthma.
Here are some tips to prevent furnace hazards. Proper maintenance at the beginning and end of the heating season, you should make it a point to have the furnace professionally inspected. We have two seasons in New Jersey, hot and cold. Having your HVAC unit inspected twice a year will ensure your unit is running properly and optimal for the upcoming season. After getting the appliance inspected, there should be no obstructions, cracks, tears, or leaks. The best place to store your furnace is a location in an open space, such as a basement, or a room dedicated to the appliance towards the middle of the home or building. having a new filter installed, will also help ensure your furnace stays functioning to its full potential while simultaneously providing cleaner air within your house. Any Recall announcements made by the manufacturers should always be taken very seriously. To ensure extra safety, we recommend having carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout the house. Have your furnace inspected properly each year and your HVAC technician can make routine maintenance suggestions, as necessary.