With temperatures expected to be down into the thirties by the end of the week, many East Texans haven't turned on their home heating units in months. But with the new colder season comes new dangers. Every year, carbon monoxide poisoning kills more than 200 Americans, hospitalizing another ten thousand.
Most of us haven't turned our heaters on since last March, but there's more to safety than just burning the dust off your furnace. Maddox Air Conditioner Service Technician Billy Yarbrough says, "Anybody with gas appliances should be worried about carbon monoxide."
Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas, odorless, colorless, and possibly deadly. As Billy inspects heaters he's looking for the flame color. "We want a nice even blue flame and no waving around."
Billy says the flue is another danger area. "Inspect it, make sure there's no rusted through spots for the flue gases to get inside the house."
The most important way to protect yourself from the invisible gas is with a carbon monoxide detector. Billy says to put it in your air stream, and test it at least once a week.
Even if things were fine last winter, a thorough new check should be made before you start relying on your heating system. Billy says, "If you have a stopped up flue, or a hole in the heat exchanger for some reason starts causing incomplete combustion, it could start adding poison gases to the air we breathe inside the house."
Experts suggest you use every way possible to protect your home against this silent, invisible killer.