Learn the Signs of a Carbon Monoxide Leak

Gas furnaces are a popular heating system choice for homeowners all over the United States, and with their effective heating capacities and affordability, there’s no wondering why. However, gas furnaces that are older or improperly maintained may have a higher risk for carbon monoxide leaks in your home.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas that can be a severe safety hazard. Significant amounts of carbon monoxide in your home can be incredibly dangerous, potentially leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. As a homeowner, you might not know how to tell if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide, which isn’t ideal if you have a gas furnace.

During the colder weather season, you should know how to check if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide. We’ll go over the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning below, as well as how to tell if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide.

Warning Signs of a Furnace CO Leak

If you’re unsure of how to identify a carbon monoxide leak, there are several signs to keep an eye out for. These warning signs include:

  • Heavy condensation on the windows (found in the room with your furnace)
  • Yellow or brown soot-like stains found around your furnace
  • A yellow pilot light (instead of a blue flame)
  • Stuffy indoor air
  • The smell of gas/burning
  • The pilot light constantly blows out
  • Rust found on the vent pipe

It’s not always obvious that there’s a CO leak occurring. While you now know how to check if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide, if you suspect a leak but don’t see any signs, still contact your local heating company immediately.

Causes of Carbon Monoxide Leaks

Now that you know how to check if a furnace is leaking CO, it’s time to know what causes these leaks.

Several furnace-related problems can lead to a carbon monoxide leak. For instance, cracks in your furnace’s heat exchanger or flue pipes can allow carbon monoxide to enter your home. Also, your furnace can develop moisture in the flue pipes, leading to holes and leaks.

Faulty ductwork or a defective blower motor can be a significant issue since each can result in problems with your home’s venting, potentially welcoming carbon monoxide into your indoor air. Additionally, dirty furnace filters can lead to restricted airflow, eventually causing your furnace’s heat exchanger to overheat and crack. As a result, CO can potentially find its way into your home’s air.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Since CO leaks pose health risks, there are many physical symptoms associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. Here are some potential symptoms you should look out for:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Weakness or achiness
  • Shortness of breath/rapid breathing

The severity of poisoning symptoms can vary depending on the levels of carbon monoxide in your home. If you are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, you must immediately exit the house or building and seek medical attention.

Ways to Prevent Furnace CO Leaks

No homeowner wants to experience a carbon monoxide leak. For most people, knowing how to tell if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide is not good enough—before that time comes, you want to prevent a leak.

The first step you should take is to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. These devices, much like smoke detectors, will alert you of carbon monoxide leaks by monitoring CO levels.

To prevent leaks from your furnace, you should also remember to schedule regular furnace tune-ups. Annual furnace maintenance can help keep your system in top shape, potentially avoiding unnecessary leaks and other problems. During a tune-up, a professional technician will inspect, clean, and perform tests on your furnace.

Contact Radiant, Your Local CO Experts

We’ve discussed the physical symptoms and furnace signs that can help you know how to tell if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide. Now here’s the bottom line: call a local HVAC professional. It’s vital to address a carbon monoxide leak right away.

If you suspect you’re dealing with a furnace leak, reach out to an experienced HVAC technician for a professional furnace repair. Radiant Plumbing offers heating and furnace repair to fit your needs. We know how to check if a furnace is leaking carbon monoxide. Plus, we work with all heating and cooling systems, and our team is available at the drop of a hat if you need a heating system serviced or installed.

To learn how we can help with a furnace carbon monoxide leak, call us at 833-656-4056 today!

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