When your gas furnace becomes a hazard
With the seasons changing, there is a risk that your gas furnace could become dangerous. A crack in the heat exchanger, damaged exhaust vent or motor/gasket failure are all areas that can release toxic carbon monoxide (CO) into your living space. We all know that CO is colourless, odourless and immediately dangerous to life and health. However, in the moment, it can be easy to forget about the risks and multitude of potential sources in a home or building. A proactive approach can be developing a plan with your family to prepare them in the event of a CO release and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning especially the seasons change or during extreme weather events. Please follow these steps to develop your plan:
First, identify all potential sources of carbon monoxide in your home and check for safe operation, consult a professional where required.
Secondly, plan ahead for routine maintenance and inspection of all your potential sources of carbon monoxide.
Finally, have a carbon monoxide monitor or configuration of monitors that will offer complete CO detection and area coverage for your entire home. Check that the monitor is not expired, test that the alert is sounding and battery levels are healthy. We can assist with this, call (403) 860-8437
Common sources of carbon monoxide in the home
The risks associated with carbon monoxide and your gas furnace
Inside of your gas furnace is a heat exchanger that is engineered to withstand widely varying temperatures for decades, in some models. This massive thermal influx, over the years can cause damage and deterioration of even the finest quality heating appliances available. These cracks in a heat exchanger can sometimes be hidden from the naked eye. It’s always important to follow your manufacturer specifications on lifecycle of your furnace heat exchanger and prioritize annual inspection.
A gas furnace also has motors and blowers that move exhaust, fresh air and temperature-controlled air, in and out. If any of these components or the gaskets that seal and make them relatively air tight, fail there can be contamination of the air in your home. In combination with ductwork and vent piping, there are many areas which can dislodge, melt or buckle that can be a source of carbon monoxide release. Only the trained eye of a qualified furnace technician with the right gas detector and visual inspection equipment/skills can identify and mitigate these types of malfunctions.
Even more ways to prevent carbon monoxide leaks in your home
Own a Carrier furnace? You could be at risk of carbon monoxide exposure!
Recently, Technical Safety BC released a bulletin for Carrier gas furnaces and it’s safe to say that some of these models were distributed across Canada. The dates of manufacture for the affected models were from 1989 to 2011 and if you have a Carrier furnace in these date ranges, please read the article linked above for more information. That aside, every home should have a carbon monoxide detector, coupled with a Journeyman HVAC technician who has your back with carbon monoxide analysis and tips specific to your home. With all these bases covered, you and your family will be safe for years to come.