Carbon monoxide (CO) is a serious risk to many homes around the country, especially during winter months. Because you can't detect carbon monoxide via taste, smell or colour, this poisonous gas can silently kill you while sleeping.
CO is produced in the home in many different ways, from blocked chimneys to heating appliances. Your home's heating system is particularly prone to producing CO. This happens if there isn't enough oxygen in the surrounding air to oxidise CO to CO2, or carbon dioxide.
There are several steps you can take to ensure that your furnace isn't responsible for producing CO while at home.
1. Don't block your vents
If your furnace is old, it may contain carbon deposits that can be oxidised to produce CO. Start by making sure that all the vents in the home aren't blocked by furniture, debris or any other items.
Blocked vents restrict proper airflow and prevent any carbon deposits from being fully oxidised to CO2. Blocked vents also result in the overworking of your furnace, which can cause the reverse effect of increasing CO in the home.
2. Keep your chimney clean
Chimneys are also another notorious source of carbon deposits. After heating your home, carbon can accumulate inside the chimney over time. This carbon tends to be partially oxidised to CO, which can enter the home and cause health risks.
Make sure your chimney is professionally cleaned to remove creosote, carbon deposits and other potentially harmful items from entering your home.
3. Invest in a carbon monoxide detecting device
Because CO can be difficult to detect, consider installing a detecting device in your home. These devices work much like smoke machines. They can be placed strategically around the home to keep track of CO levels so you can react accordingly.
Detectors can also uncover where your CO is likely coming from. For example, if you have a blocked vent in a particular room and the CO levels are higher, you'll know where the problem is coming.
4. Don't ignore your HVAC system
A dirty furnace can also cause CO to be emitted from the ductwork. You should ensure that your ducts are cleaned on a regular basis to remove any potential contaminants to your indoor air supply.
During duct cleaning, you should also have the maintenance staff inspect your HVAC system. The maintenance crew can inform you of any possible risk factors that may result in CO inside your home.
Contact a local gas heating service for more information on preventing carbon monoxide from being produced in your home.