Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Do You Have The Flu Or Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
HOW A HIDDEN LEAK IN YOUR FURNACE CAN MAKE YOU SICK.
There are Two Kinds of Dangerous Gases That Can Leak from Your Furnace
One You Can Smell and One You Can’t
You probably know if you "smell gas" you should immediately shut down your furnace and call for help. This is the gas that is delivered to your home from the gas company. They put in a special chemical to make the gas smell like rotten eggs so you will be sure and notice if there’s ever a leak. Why? If this gas were to build up, it could explode and destroy your home. So, if you ever "smell gas" you should seek help quickly.
Now, the other dangerous gas is actually produced inside your furnace. In fact, it’s the same toxic gas that comes out of the tail pipe of your car if you leave it in a closed garage with the engine running. It’s called carbon monoxide, and you CAN’T smell it.
Even though carbon monoxide will not explode, it can be dangerous (even deadly) to you, your family and your pets, especially if your furnace is over ten years old.
Here’s why - Your forced air furnace has a heat exchanger inside made of thin metal (it’s not like the old cast iron monsters). Its job is to prevent the toxic gas (the one you can’t smell) from getting into the air you breathe. But carbon monoxide is sneaky; it can leak into your home through cracks in the heat exchanger.
Here’s how it happens - Your heat exchanger expands every time your furnace turns on. And it contracts when your furnace shuts off. For years now your heat exchanger has expanded and contracted. Just like bending a piece of metal back and forth will cause it to crack, so will your heat exchanger.
- The Danger Signs - The reason carbon monoxide is so toxic to your family is because it starves your heart, brain and other organs of oxygen --- and because you can’t smell it. The first signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, nausea, pains and mental confusion. These symptoms are often misdiagnosed as the flu or a bad cold. Even worse, carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty home heating systems cause hundreds of deaths in America every year. Unfortunately children and the elderly are the most severely affected.