It’s highly likely that you use natural gas in some way in your home. It’s the most common way to power furnaces, as well as stoves and ovens. Natural gas is inexpensive compared to electricity, and it’s convenient and burns cleanly. It’s no wonder that it is so widespread across the country for use in homes and businesses.
But using natural gas brings with it a note of caution: carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is not actually natural gas—this is a common misunderstanding—but a byproduct of the combustion of natural gas. Anything that burns can produce CO, but the most common source in a home is natural gas appliances like a furnace.
The Danger of CO
Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, making it difficult for humans to detect. It is also toxic, causing dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and with prolonged exposure, unconsciousness and death. Although most gas appliances are designed with safety uppermost in mind, there is still the small chance of CO leaks. You need to know how best to defend your family against this.
So What Is to Be Done?
You need to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home. This is a necessity for any house that relies on natural gas. They are inexpensive to purchase and run on batteries. Make sure to routinely test the detectors and change the batteries on occasion.
The other important defense against CO poisoning is to schedule routine maintenance each fall for the furnace. This visit does a lot to improve furnace performance, but it also watches for errors where the furnace may be developing safety hazards. A well-cared for furnace is a safer furnace. There’s still plenty of time to have your furnace inspected before you will start to use it more often.