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Beware Of Furnace Hazards In The Winter!

As winter approaches, most of us think nothing of turning up the heat inside our homes. Gas-powered furnaces are heavily used in the United States. They work by combusting fuel to create heat. However, when not used or maintained properly, these modern marvels can actually cause a host of extremely dangerous and even fatal problems to the home and its residents. It is crucial for homeowners to educate themselves on furnace maintenance and potential hazards for the safest possible experience. In this article, we explore the causes and consequences of furnace hazards, as well as what can possibly be done to avoid them.

Cause of Accidents

A large portion of accidents involving gas furnaces are simply caused by faulty or malfunctioning parts. While it usually varies on an individual basis, there have been cases where furnace hazards were caused by errors attributed to the manufacturer. Older furnaces that do not comply with current standard safety codes may also pose a higher risk due to their earlier technology. Gas furnaces that have not been correctly rated for the building that they are placed in could produce far too much carbon monoxide for the building size. Another cause is insufficient combustion air around the furnace. In general, failing to follow the instructions provided by the furnace manufacturer can also cause accidents.

Possible Consequences

A house fire is often the most likely consequence of using a faulty or unmaintained furnace. When too much natural gas is leaked into the air, it quickly builds up. Since it is a very volatile substance, it can easily explode and cause a fire in the home. Even if an explosion does not occur, the excess gas in the air can cause people to become sick. The symptoms can range from unexplained pains, depression, digestive problems, to nausea, allergies, fatigue, and more. A release of too much carbon monoxide into the air can cause people to quickly become depleted of oxygen. They may display symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, convulsions, breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, and even death. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning depend on the concentration of the gas in the area. Finally, even without any gas leaks, people can also succumb to respiratory problems, such as asthma, triggered by harmful combustion particles released into the air by the furnace.

Prevention Tips

Before starting up the furnace when the cold months arrive, homeowners should make it a point to have the machine professionally inspected. The inspection should include checking that all parts are working properly and that there are no obstructions, cracks, tears, or leaks. In general, there should also be a good amount of airflow around the furnace so that has a sufficient supply of clean air to pull into the burner. Ideally, the furnace should be located in an open space. Installing a new furnace filter will also help to keep it functioning better while providing cleaner air within the home. Recall announcements should always be taken seriously. To stay alert to potential gas leaks, install carbon monoxide detectors in each room as well as next to the furnace. The detectors should be checked regularly to ensure that the batteries are still working.

  • Furnace Inspections – Having a certified inspector check the furnace before each winter can help to identify and fix any possible issues before they become dangerous.
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning can be caused by poorly functioning furnaces.
  • Furnace Filters – Furnace filters help to lengthen the lifespan of the furnace while removing particles that cause respiratory problems.
  • Gas Heating Hazards – With about half of all Americans using natural gas as an indoor heating solution, there is a potential risk of gas leaks and explosions.
  • Attic Furnaces – Homeowners should be alert for product recalls since a faulty furnace can easily cause a fire.
  • Furnace Repairs – Furnace repairs should always be handled by a trained professional to avoid personal injury or property damage.
  • Indoor Carbon Monoxide – Learn about carbon monoxide’s effects on human health and how it can be caused by furnaces.
  • Understanding Furnaces – Homeowners should take the time to learn about furnaces and efficiency levels to purchase a reliable model.
  • Home Heating Inspections – This list offers a few tips and ideas that homeowners can typically manage on their own to check how well their furnaces are maintained.
  • Air Quality in the Home (PDF) – Find out how faulty gas furnaces can affect indoor air quality and cause health problems.
  • Furnace Tune-Up List (PDF) – This list demonstrates the types of checks and fixes that a professional furnace maintenance person might carry out.
  • Vent-Free Gas Heaters – How safe are vent-free gas heaters, and can they cause hazardous issues inside the home?
  • Safe Indoor Heating – Learn how homeowners can heat their homes in a safe and efficient manner.
  • Dangerous Gases – Furnaces that are not properly and regularly maintained can release combustion particles or harmful gases within the home.
  • Kerosene Heaters – Portable gas heaters without vents can pose an increased risk in home fires when not used properly.
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