By Joel Wensley
Now that it’s officially furnace season, I’m going to talk about how to stay safe this upcoming winter season with the main topic being deadly carbon monoxide.
I bet some of you have smelled a burning type of smell when you first fired up your furnace this season didn’t you? Carbon monoxide ya think? Nope. That’s just a dirty furnace that’s been sitting all summer long. With carbon monoxide, You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it, but it’s responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of hospital-related injuries every year.
The primary sources of carbon monoxide in our homes are simply, anything that burns a flame … furnaces, water heaters, stoves and some space heaters.
It’s crucial to have a qualified technician maintain these appliances yearly so that you and your family remain safe.
Having a battery backup carbon monoxide detector can also help, but here’s a tip. Most of the more affordable detectors will only alert you when it’s time to get out of the house. You can be slowly poisoned by carbon monoxide for months and months and not even know it. Low level carbon monoxide detectors can alert you to even the smallest levels so you can determine the problem faster and without injury.
Here are a few more hard hitting facts. If your furnace goes out, do not use your gas stove to heat your house. Do not use any type of temporary non-vented gas heaters. If you lose your power, do not bring a generator inside your home. Many people who have done this are not with us here today, period. Stay with a friend or contact a local agency.
Understanding the dangers of carbon monoxide is extremely important so that you and your family can have a safe and wonderful holiday season.
(Joel Wensley is a licensed mechanical contractor in the state of Michigan, a contributor on Fox 2 News on WJBK-TV Channel 2, and president of Mechanical Heating & Cooling in Dearborn Heights.)