As winter approaches, most of us think nothing of turning up the heat inside our homes. Gas-powered furnaces are heavily used in the United States. They work by combusting fuel to create heat. However, when not used or maintained properly, these modern marvels can actually cause a host of extremely dangerous and even fatal problems to the home and its residents. It is crucial for homeowners to educate themselves on furnace maintenance and potential hazards for the safest possible experience. In this article, we explore the causes and consequences of furnace hazards, as well as what can possibly be done to avoid them.
Cause of Accidents
A large portion of accidents involving gas furnaces are simply caused by faulty or malfunctioning parts. While it usually varies on an individual basis, there have been cases where furnace hazards were caused by errors attributed to the manufacturer. Older furnaces that do not comply with current standard safety codes may also pose a higher risk due to their earlier technology. Gas furnaces that have not been correctly rated for the building that they are placed in could produce far too much carbon monoxide for the building size. Another cause is insufficient combustion air around the furnace. In general, failing to follow the instructions provided by the furnace manufacturer can also cause accidents.
A house fire is often the most likely consequence of using a faulty or unmaintained furnace. When too much natural gas is leaked into the air, it quickly builds up. Since it is a very volatile substance, it can easily explode and cause a fire in the home. Even if an explosion does not occur, the excess gas in the air can cause people to become sick. The symptoms can range from unexplained pains, depression, digestive problems, to nausea, allergies, fatigue, and more. A release of too much carbon monoxide into the air can cause people to quickly become depleted of oxygen. They may display symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, convulsions, breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, and even death. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning depend on the concentration of the gas in the area. Finally, even without any gas leaks, people can also succumb to respiratory problems, such as asthma, triggered by harmful combustion particles released into the air by the furnace.
Before starting up the furnace when the cold months arrive, homeowners should make it a point to have the machine professionally inspected. The inspection should include checking that all parts are working properly and that there are no obstructions, cracks, tears, or leaks. In general, there should also be a good amount of airflow around the furnace so that has a sufficient supply of clean air to pull into the burner. Ideally, the furnace should be located in an open space. Installing a new furnace filter will also help to keep it functioning better while providing cleaner air within the home. Recall announcements should always be taken seriously. To stay alert to potential gas leaks, install carbon monoxide detectors in each room as well as next to the furnace. The detectors should be checked regularly to ensure that the batteries are still working.
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October 7th - October 13th. 2012
Information taken from the National Fire Prevention Association
Dryer Fire Research
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING DRYER FIRES!
WHEN TO TEST SMOKE DETECTORS?
Check smoke detectors once a month and change the batteries at least once a year. Smoke detectors sense abnormal amounts of smoke or invisible combustion gases in the air. They can detect both smoldering and burning fires. At least one smoke detector should be installed on every level of a structure.
If an appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately and have it repaired. Replace frayed or cracked electrical cords and don't overload extension cords. They should not be run under rugs. Never tamper with the fuse box or use the improper size fuse. firesafetytips.com
Carbon Monoxide Awareness
(remember a little bit of time and money will be a good investment in the long run)
Please make visable from both sides in reflective numbers
Place house numbers on house or building