As the weather cools down, the furnaces will start to fire up. That means it’s time to get your furnaces inspected and tuned up. This is a simple way to prevent any carbon monoxide poisoning. Have a qualified heating contractor inspect and tune up your furnace yearly.
In addition to getting the furnace checked, make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are installed and maintained in the home. Wisconsin law requires CO detectors in all residences in Wisconsin.
If you are going to hire someone to check your furnace, ask what they will be doing to make sure it’s worth it. The manufacturer’s instructions recommend that these areas be checked every year.
The vent system needs to be checked for blockage and leakage. The fresh air grills and louvers need to be checked for blockage. The blower access door needs to be checked to make sure it’s a tight seal at the furnace. The heat exchanger needs to be inspected for rust and corrosion. These are just some of the areas that need to be checked. Find a more extensive list here.
If the furnace is malfunctioning, it can emit carbon monoxide gas. The symptoms of carbon monoxide are similar to that of the flu. It’s important to make sure your detectors are working. This may be the only way you know there is carbon monoxide in the home. The gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, which gives it its name “the invisible killer.” View this fact sheet on how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
In 2014, there were about 8.33 emergency department visits per 100,000 people for carbon monoxide poisoning in Wisconsin. There were about .97 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, and there were about 0.3 deaths per 100,000 people. This data comes from the Wisconsin Environmental Public Health Data Tracking Program. CO is the most common cause of deadly poisonings.
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