"The emissions from a heater with stress spots or cracks in the heat exchanger can contribute to high levels of carbon monoxide exposure," said Doyle James, president of Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. "The air we breathe indoors can actually be more dangerous than the air outdoors, so it's important to check any fuel-burning appliance or heating source to make sure it's working properly annually."
Aire Serv suggests homeowners follow these safety tips before turning on their heater:
Install a carbon monoxide detector; place outside the sleeping quarters on each floor of the home.
Keep generators in a well-ventilated area and away from the house.
Have the furnace and any heating equipment checked by a heating specialist. In addition to cleaning your system, checking refrigerant levels (heat pump) and adjusting your system as needed, your contractor should look for cracks or damage to the heat exchanger.
Remove any clutter around the furnace, particularly flammable items.
Check your furnace air filter monthly and replace as necessary. Air flow can be restricted if the filter is dirty.
Remember that your pets are as attracted to the warm fireplace and heater as you are, so make sure they can't burn themselves or knock a heat source over - putting everyone in harms way.
Watch for these warning signs that you could have a potential carbon monoxide issue in your home:
If any gas flame is burning orange or yellow instead of blue.
Sooty stains on heating appliances or around heating registers.
Poorly igniting (noisy) furnace.
Headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue are symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning - have your heating equipment checked and see your physician.
Homeowners should also remember to replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they work throughout the winter season. Even with alarms on each level of the home, having the heating system inspected and routine maintenance are the best way to prepare for the heating season.
About Aire Servr:
Established in 1992, Aire Serv is a global franchise organization providing installation, maintenance and repair of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and indoor air quality systems. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its "Franchise 500," Aire Serv franchisees provide these services to both residential and commercial customers at more than 170 locations in the United States and Canada. Aire Serv is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, Inc. For further information or to find the location nearest you, visit AireServ.com.