Inefficient, dirty burning furnaces can create and release carbon monoxide (CO). Odorless and colorless, this noxious gas can cause extreme flu-like symptoms and even death. Every year, between 20,000 to 30,000 people in the U.S. are accidentally sickened by CO poisoning inside their home.

All gas-powered furnaces produce carbon monoxide during its combustion process. Most of the CO gets contained within the system then vented safely outside. However, sometimes malfunctioning or older furnaces can leak gas into the home through cracks & holes in the heat exchanger or flue pipes.

The closer winter draws, the more we will use our furnaces. To prepare for the heating season here are four easy steps to take to keep your system running safely and efficiently.

Clean and Check Your Furnace!

Before even thinking about turning on the heat, have a trained HVAC technician out to inspect the furnace for holes and cracks in the combustion chamber. Because carbon monoxide can leak out without any sign, it is highly advised to have a qualified professional examine and service the system before winter. In addition to the inspection, the technician will clean out any dust or dirt lining the system and will lubricate the motor and bearings preparing the furnace for the season ahead.

Change the Furnace Filter

Help your furnace breathe this winter, change the filter and heat your home cleanly all season long. Dirty filters are one of the most common reasons HVAC systems fail. Clogged filters restrict airflow, causing units to work harder and longer, resulting in higher energy costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, consistently replacing dirty filters can lower energy consumption by 5 to 10 percent.

Clean filters also prevent dust and debris from entering and polluting the home’s air quality. Help extend the life of your HVAC unit, improve your air quality, and lower utility bills by regularly changing your system’s filter.

Make Sure You Carbon Monoxide Detector Works!

When you are running your furnace, it is highly recommended that you keep a working carbon monoxide detector nearby. Malfunctioning systems can cause CO leaks suddenly and without notice. Because the deadly gas is undetectable, it can seep into your home with zero sign. So keep your family safe this heating season by either buying a CO detector or ensuring that the one you have is working!

Keep Flammable Items Away

It’s easy to put something down and forget about it, but when it comes to storing items on or near a furnace here’s something you should always remember. Heaters can cause fires. Anything that has a low-flashpoint such as gas, paint, clothing, wood scraps, old rags, even kitty litter should be kept away from the furnace.

Use these four easy suggestions to save money and to keep your home heated safely this year. If you haven’t had someone out yet, it’s never too late! Have our NATE-Certified Technicians out to inspect and get your furnace running cleanly and efficiently.

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