Understanding the Dangers of Natural Gas Furnaces + Carbon Monoxide

Natural Gas Furnaces and Carbon Monoxide

Natural gas furnaces are the most common type of heating system in Ottawa. Despite their popularity, it is still important to understand the risks of gas furnaces. This post will discuss Natural Gas Furnaces and Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Is Your Natural Gas Furnace Safe?

Young Family with BabyYou must properly maintain your furnace or it can pose gas or combustion related hazards. It is always best to call Reliable to ensure you are not putting your family’s health and safety at risk.

Designed for safety, newer furnaces will reduce the chances of gas leaks, overheating, and fire. For example:

  • a newer Lennox furnace’s limit switch may shut off the burners and fans if the temperature gets too high.
  • its sensors will detect if your ignition fails and then will shut off the gas so there isn’t a build-up of dangerous combustible gasses.

Older furnaces do not have these enhanced safety measures in place and could pose a more serious health risk if the system fails. You may consider replacing your older system altogether if it is older than 10 years old.

Why is a Gas Leak So Dangerous?

Furnace-Tech-Jordan-Service-PageA gas leak is very dangerous. It must be taken seriously. If you suspect that your furnace is leaking gas, you may smell rotten eggs or you might not. Regardless, contact your utility company or the Ottawa Fire Department immediately!

Natural gas is combustible, which means it could ignite in the presence of a spark or flame. Natural gas can also produce carbon monoxide (CO) when trapped in a confined space due to a blocked chimney or blocked/clogged vent for example. If not properly ventilated, CO can build up to a dangerous level that can cause asphyxiation.

Natural Gas Furnaces and Carbon Monoxide “the Silent Killer”

There were 380 accidental carbon monoxide deaths in Canada between 2000-2009, according to Statistics Canada. Carbon Monoxide (CO), also known as ‘the silent killer’ is an odourless, colourless, tasteless gas. A 2014 CBC article quoted Health Canada and described the dangers of CO. As you breathe in, the CO builds up quickly in your lungs and combines with your blood to produce ‘carboxyhemoglobin’ (COHb). COHb reduces the blood’s ability to absorb oxygen and without blood, body tissue and cells can no longer function resulting in death.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include drowsiness and a throbbing headache. CO poisoning often occurs while someone is asleep.

Invest in Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you have a natural gas furnace or a propane furnace, it is imperative to have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your house. You are required by law to have carbon monoxide detectors on every level. Kidde is the world’s leading manufacturer of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Much like a smoke detector that inevitably goes off when you are pan searing a delicious steak, CO detectors give off a loud alarm if they sense carbon monoxide in the air, thus alerting you to a potentially very serious problem.

While built to run more efficient and affordable than ever before, a natural gas furnace needs to be properly maintained to prevent unexpected gas leaks and possible CO build-up. Compare carbon monoxide detectors here bestreviews.com/best-carbon-monoxide-detectors.

If you still have questions or wish to schedule a service call, please contact Reliable by calling 613-274-3800.