Carbon monoxide isn’t known as the silent killer for nothing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that this hard to detect gas is responsible for approximately 430 deaths per year. Fortunately, keeping your gas furnace properly maintained can do wonders to reduce the threat posed by carbon monoxide.
A furnace requires more than gas alone to produce its heat. This gas must be mixed with air in a very precise ratio, otherwise it will not fully combust. When a furnace’s gas-air ratio is off, it can drastically effect the efficiency of your furnace.
Not only that, but it also increases the amount of carbon monoxide–a by-product of incomplete combustion–being generated by your furnace.
In other words, the more complete the combustion taking place, the less carbon monoxide your furnace will produce. For that reason, it is vital that you schedule regular furnace maintenance to ensure that the gas-air ratio inside of your combustion chamber is exactly where it should be.
Even in the most efficient furnace, a small amount of carbon monoxide will be generated, along with other toxic substances such as:
- nitrogen dioxide
- sulfur dioxide
- polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
- particulate matter
Your furnace’s exhaust flue is designed to carry such substances out of your home. Once outside, they are able to disperse to harmless levels in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, if your flue has become compromised by holes or cracks, carbon monoxide and other toxic emissions may be entering your home.
Cracked Heat Exchanger
Your furnace can also have carbon monoxide issues if the heat exchanger inside the furnace has cracks or other issues. As furnaces age, these types of issues can start to happen. A qualified furnace technician can run tests to make sure your heat exchanger is intact and working properly.