All About Carbon Monoxide & Your Heater

All About Carbon Monoxide & Your Heater

However you heat your Atlanta property, you deserve to be safe. You may use a heater that runs on natural gas or even a duel fuel system. However, burning any sort of gas at any time comes with certain risks. One of the most prominent is carbon monoxide. It is caused by the exhaust gases from the combustion process in heating.

1. What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is a gas without a smell and color. It is found in the fumes produced when fuel burns in items such as cars, trucks, stoves, ovens, lanterns, grills, as well as natural gas furnaces or other heaters. CO released indoors builds up and can poison the people and pets who breathe it. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning according to the CDC are:

  • Headaches.
  • Dizzy spells.
  • Nausea and / or vomiting.
  • Stomach and / or chest pain.
  • Confusion.

2. What are the Main Causes of Carbon Monoxide Leaks?

Carbon monoxide can come from any number of sources, especially if your property has active or even dormant gas lines. It can come from a stove or oven that was left on, a vehicle left running, and many other causes. As Atlanta heating experts, we have found these to be the most common carbon monoxide leak causes in heaters:

  • Damaged heat exchanger that has been cracked or corroded.
  • Insufficient combustion air.
  • Faulty exhaust system with leaks or built into a chimney.
  • Incorrect air pressure in the furnace.
  • Sub-standard installation of the unit by a poorly trained HVAC contractor.

3. How do I Know if I Have a Carbon Monoxide Leak?

While CO does not have a smell, natural gas leaks do have one. It smells just like gas. However, a natural gas smell does not have to be present in order to signify a CO leak. There are two main ways to tell if you have a carbon monoxide leak detector.

  1. A carbon monoxide detector - These small, battery powered units are easy to use and install. You can purchase one at any hardware store and install it yourself. Be sure to place one near any appliance that uses natural gas.
  2. Regular heater maintenance - We highly recommend having maintenance performed on your heater each year to help avoid this and many other issues. The best time to do so is before your turn your heater on for the first time before the cold season. Your heating technician should use a digital combustion analyzer when inspecting heaters to diagnose this and other problems.
  3. Turn off the gas - Turn off the gas to the property immediately if you confirm or suspect a carbon monoxide or gas leak and call your provider. Call a professional if you don't know how to turn off the gas yourself and vacate the premises.
Be sure to seek medical attention if you suspect you or someone on your property is ill due to CO poisoning.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Leaks in Atlanta

Need help maintaining or installing a heater in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Peachtree Corners, or close by? We at Vital Air can help at every stage from the first indication of CO to eliminating the cause all together. Feel free to contact us to get a free, professional estimate on a heat pump or other related services.
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