Skip to content
Available 24/7!  Call or Text Us! 

Worried about a Carbon Monoxide Leak from your Furnace? Here’s How to keep your Home Safe!

small_3149068865Your furnace is a fuel-burning appliance, which means it’s important to know what can possibly go wrong with it that could threaten your home’s safety. One such safety hazard is a carbon monoxide leak. Today we’re going to talk about how your furnace can develop a carbon monoxide leak and what you can do to keep your home safe this winter!

How does your furnace normally keep you safe from a carbon monoxide leak?

Carbon monoxide is a natural byproduct of the fuel-burning process. That means that the gas is produced every time your furnace is operating. If everything is working properly, the carbon monoxide that is produced by your furnace’s burners is contained within your system’s heat exchanger. After the gas leaves your heat exchanger, it is sent through your furnace’s flue vent and safely carried out of your home.

How can your furnace develop a carbon monoxide leak?

There are a few things that can go wrong with your furnace that prevent it from properly venting carbon monoxide out of your home. The most common problem is a cracked heat exchanger. Your heat exchanger is made of metal that expands and contracts every time that your furnace heats up and cools back down. Over time, this can cause the walls of your heat exchanger to develop cracks, which will allow carbon monoxide to leak out and spread throughout your home.

Carbon monoxide leaks can also develop if something goes wrong with your furnace’s venting system. If your furnace’s venting system wasn’t installed properly, or if it develops a blockage or a leak, carbon monoxide can be released into your home’s air instead of being carried outside.

What can you do to avoid the dangers of a carbon monoxide leak from your furnace?

  • Schedule your annual furnace tune-up. The absolute best way to avoid carbon monoxide leaks from your furnace is to schedule an annual tune-up. During a tune-up, we’ll use specialized equipment to examine your heat exchanger for any signs of cracks. We’ll also inspect your entire system for anything that could lead to a potential carbon monoxide leak.
  • Keep your air filter clean. Carbon monoxide leaks are more likely to develop when your furnace has airflow problems. One of the best ways to avoid this is to change your air filter regularly to ensure that a dirty filter doesn’t slow down your system’s airflow.
  • Check your carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, so it can build up to dangerous levels in your home’s air without you even realizing it. That’s why it’s important to install carbon monoxide detectors in all the proper places in your home and test to ensure they are working properly this heating season.

If you have any questions about how a carbon monoxide leak can develop in your furnace, or if you’d like a heating system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis area heating and cooling contractor. We service the St. Louis area, including towns like Maryland Height, O’Fallon and St. Charles.

photo credit: Sangudo via photopin cc