Carbon Monoxide Risks in Springfield, MO's HVAC Systems

Seem like an odd question? While you may know the answer there are actually thousands of others who google this question every month! At a glance, you may not notice, but it’s a little bit of a trick question. How? Well, HVAC isn’t just one thing. As we covered in a previous blog, HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Since air conditioners don’t burn fuel to cool your home, they can’t create carbon monoxide. However, the heating element of your HVAC system CAN. It’s your gas-powered furnace that creates carbon monoxide. So as a homeowner or even a business owner, it’s important to understand how this all works with your HVAC system.

Although ac (air conditioning) units can’t create carbon monoxide, it is possible they could help circulate a gas leak, which you would smell, and still not the same as a carbon monoxide leak. So in this blog, we’ll explain exactly what carbon monoxide is, how your furnace creates it, and what to do to keep peace of mind.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that’s created when fuels like propane and natural gas are burned. It’s also known as “the silent killer” because it’s impossible to detect without specialized technology. It’s really important you understand it’s not just a gas leak. You would smell that. Carbon monoxide is the byproduct of the gas your furnace uses going through the combustion process to create heat. If that CO builds up in closed areas, like a home or office, it’s flat out dangerous because it can happen, and you not even know it. It will cause health problems like headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and even death if bad enough.

There are many horror stories of people having months and even years of health problems and they come to find out they had a CO level in their living space causing all the health issues. Carbon monoxide prevents your body from getting the oxygen it needs to stay healthy. Children are particularly vulnerable to its effects because they have smaller bodies than adults and their lungs are still developing. It’s important for parents to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide so that they can take steps to protect their families. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a legit danger, don’t take it lightly.

Why & How Do Heating Elements Create Carbon Monoxide?

The furnace is part of your HVAC system that creates carbon monoxide because it burns fuel in order to heat the air that flows through them. Inside your furnace, there is an element called a heating exchanger made from steel that prevents complete combustion of the propane or natural gas. During this burning process, it produces carbon monoxide as a byproduct, which then has to be vented safely away from the premises. That means all gas-powered systems must have a properly installed venting system so that any CO produced while you’re using your heat is vented outdoors instead of into the living space.

How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure?

It’s actually really easy to prevent CO exposure! Make sure your home or office has a carbon monoxide detector. Secondly, make sure your HVAC system is properly maintained and serviced regularly by a certified technician who knows how to identify problems and correct them before they become dangerous. This includes making sure all vents are unblocked and free of obstructions so that CO can be vented outdoors safely and effectively. Having your HVAC system serviced and cleaned at least one time for the cold season and one time for the hot season is the best practice. This will ensure you catch any potential problems before they happen and that your furnace and air conditioner are running smoothly.

We hope this explanation helps because it's important you understand exactly what CO is and the dangers of exposure. Take steps like having your systems inspected regularly by certified technicians and installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home or business. Don't forget—knowledge is power and now you know! With the right information on hand, you can stay safe while enjoying the benefits of efficient heating and cooling solutions for years to come. As always, if you need any help or have questions? – Give us a holler at SS&B Heating & Cooling. We service, repair, and replace all brands for your comfort and convenience.

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