If you are using a gas-powered heater or furnace to heat your home, you are probably aware that proper care, as well as preventive maintenance, will help extend the life of your heater. It is highly recommended that you have a professional heater service at least twice a year to ensure it performs in peak condition at all times.
Unfortunately, even with regular heater service and maintenance, issues will always arise. And while some problems may be small, other heater problems can become a major cause for concern and one of these issues is your heater leaking carbon monoxide gas! If you suspect that your gas furnace is leaking gas, you must contact your local gas heater service technician immediately.
Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous gas with no detectable odor. Most homes now have smoke detectors that can also detect carbon monoxide. However, these detectors don’t always work, and carbon poisoning can easily occur. So, what are the signs of carbon monoxide gas in your home?
When you inhale carbon monoxide, it will replace the oxygen in your red blood cells. And this will subsequently reduce the amount of oxygen that your blood can transport to your vital organs. And the organs that are at a huge risk of injury are those that require lots of oxygen supply; your brain and heart.
Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:
- Shortness of breath
- General weakness or fatigue
- Dull headache
Repeated exposure to CO and lack of immediate treatment can result in serious and long-term effects which can be life-threatening. Continued exposure can lead to visual disturbances, vomiting, nausea, difficulty concentrating, and even death.
Your first line of defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is to ensure your gas heater is well maintained and serviced on a regular basis, preferably twice a year. What's more, you must ensure that CO alarms are installed in your home to help detect any CO leakage early enough!
It is vital to note that carbon monoxide is a highly dangerous gas, and perhaps that is the reason it is usually referred to as the silent killer; because, it is very difficult to detect. Major signs of the presence of carbon monoxide in your home include:
- Brownish-yellow or sooty stains around the leaking device.
- The presence of heavy condensation on the windows or surfaces where the furnace is installed. It is important to note that dripping or heavy condensation can also indicate that your humidifier is set very high.
- Stale, smelly air - like the odor produced by something overheating or burning.
- Lack of an upward draft in your chimney flue.
- Your pilot light will frequently go out.
- A hissing sound: If you hear a hissing sound near your gas lines, the chances are high that you have a gas leak. You’ll need to act very fast because a hissing sound usually implies you have a significant leak. Most often, a hissing sound comes from a leaking refrigerant line, a damaged compressor, or a leaking valve. It is highly recommended that you turn your gas heater off and call a professional gas heater service for assistance. Strange sounds coming from your gas heater are a potential source of danger!
- Rotten egg odor: It is important to note that propane and natural gas have a distinctive odor for a reason. For safety reasons, utility firms use an additive known as mercaptan to give odorless as well as colorless gases an identifiable smell. Many people usually describe this distinctive smell as that produced by a rotten egg, sulfur, or sewage.
- The presence of a moving white mist of dust.
These are some of the proven signs of carbon monoxide gas in your house. If you suspect that your furnace is leaking gas, you should leave the area as soon as possible. Don’t try to locate the source of the leak! Instead, contact a gas heater professional to identify and fix the leak.