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Friday, November 21, 2014

PGFD - Stay Warm Safely - Tip of the Day - Having HVAC Appliances Inspected

An annual check of your gas-fueled appliances by a certified technician are highly recommended by firefighters.  These appliances include your furnace, water heater and cooking equipment.  Technicians will check that combustion of the fuel is occurring correctly and that the toxic fumes, carbon monoxide (CO), are being ventilated to the home exterior.  Many HVAC companies provide special discounted pricing this time of year for these check-ups.

CO is a by-product of combustion and is normally removed from your home through ventilation pipes.  CO is unhealthy and can kill you if the toxic gas builds up in your home by way of a faulty ventilation system or if the combustion process malfunctions.  CO can be generated by burning wood in your fireplace and wood burning stoves, furnace, water heater and cooking appliances.

CO is inhaled and will displace oxygen in your blood cells.  When this occurs your vital organs are receiving toxic gas instead of oxygen which will make you sick.  If the CO levels are high enough, the CO will kill you.

A Prince George's County law that went into effect this year requires every home that has a fireplace, natural gas service and/or an attached garage have a working CO detector installed on every level of your home.  Firefighters highly recommend the use of 10-year CO detectors that will not require changing the battery twice a year.

There are two ways a homeowner can detect the presence of CO in their home:

1. Feeling sick inside their home with a sudden relief of flu symptoms once outdoors.  This could go on for days until the CO will make you sick enough to go unconscious and possibly die.

2. A CO detector will detect the presence of CO; a toxic gas which is invisible and has no smell.  A CO detector will emit an audible warning before the levels of CO reach unhealthy levels.

These images are of a HVAC technician visually inspecting the ventilation of a furnace and water heater.

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