Apr 15, 2012

Home heating and protecting your family from carbon monoxide poisoning

Did you now that even though nearly seventy percent of people use fuel to heat their homes that more than two-thirds don’t have carbon monoxide detectors? Some people wait for the last minute in the lead up to a cold North American winter before they check furnaces and other heating equipment and when the weather suddenly changes and there is heavy snow and the house needs heating up, they find that they are not ready and a carbon monoxide detector might be the last thing they think about.

The first thing you should do before the winter starts when you will need a lot of heat is to get a qualified service technician who services or installs furnaces to do an inspection to check that everything is in working order. You don’t want to leave this until the temperature has plummeted below sixty degrees and you are freezing in a cold room.

Importance of having your furnace regularly serviced

• Install the carbon monoxide detector where people sleep, but not close to fuel burning appliances.

• Don’t try to heat up your home with a gas range or an oven; you are looking for trouble, and the heat generated in any event is not enough to heat a house.

• Heating your house with a gas range or an oven also produces dangerous levels of nitrogen oxide which can lead to problem breathing and respiratory disease. This also poses a danger for your children.

• If you did not know, grilling indoors is dangerous for the high amount of carbon monoxide it generates.

• It is important that you service your heating system regularly every year. Don’t wait for the last minute as stated above.

• If your technician tells you that you need work done, do it immediately. You all have had the experience of great weather and in the morning wake up to heavy snow. Besides, you do not want a heating system that could pose a poisoning risk. Check for cracks in the vent and check the system is properly installed.

• Make sure your wood stove meets fire codes and that your chimney is clear and flues cleaned. If not, you take the risk of the carbon monoxide which is supposed to be released coming back into the house.

• Always open chimney dampers before lighting a fire in the fireplace. Have your heating appliances tested by an independent lab where if something goes wrong, you have someone to go to.

• Use heaters with the proper fuel and follow instructions. Remember, we all need oxygen to breathe. Use common sense.