Is Gas Heat Safe? What Precautions Should You Take?
One of the most popular ways people choose to heat their homes is with gas. But while gas heat might be a popular choice among homeowners in the Oregon and Washington areas, other homeowners choose to avoid it due to stigmas about its safety. Explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning are among some of the biggest concerns people have when it comes to gas heat. With so many potential hazards, it’s normal to wonder whether gas heat is safe.
Gas heat can be safe, though, as long as you take the proper measures to ensure its safety. A licensed HVAC professional, like those on staff at Entek, will be able to install your gas furnace and perform the maintenance required to keep it in good-working, safe condition.
Still, there are a few things that you can do to further ensure your family’s safety when it comes to gas heat. Knowing what to look out for and how to best take care of your gas heating unit can potentially save your life. Here are a few precautions you should take when it comes to keeping yourself safe with gas heat.
Own a Carbon Monoxide Detector and a Smoke Detector
If a leak happens with your gas heating furnace, it will be hard to detect on your own. When it leaks, it produces a chemical called carbon monoxide, which is extremely difficult to detect without the right technology. This chemical is dangerous because it’s colorless and odorless. Depending on the levels of carbon monoxide emitted into the home, it could cause severe symptoms and even death.
To combat this potential issue, it’s best to have a few carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Place a carbon monoxide detector near your gas heater and then have one on each floor of your home for extra safety. This detector is your best bet at detecting a leak in your system before you or your family have to experience any negative symptoms.
Smoke detectors are another item you want to make sure you have when you own a gas heating system. Should your system malfunction in any way that causes a fire, time won’t be on your side. Knowing there’s a fire as soon as possible, wherever you are in your house, will give your family the most amount of time to exit safely.
After installing your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, be sure to check them regularly to make sure they’re in working order. Check for any digital symbols showing. It’s an important precaution in making sure that they’ll work when they need to. Your detector could also have a test button, so you can push that to confirm it’s on too. Be mindful to change the batteries regularly, and you’ll be in a good position to detect any carbon monoxide or smoke early on.
Be Aware of the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, it’s difficult to tell when or if it’s poisoning you. When there’s too much carbon monoxide in the air, your body will take it in and replace your red blood cells with carbon monoxide.
Some of the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are vomiting, dizziness, trouble breathing, headache, and confusion. Should you or a family member experience these symptoms out of the blue, it’s best to retreat to somewhere with fresh air and outside of your home until you can rule out carbon monoxide as the issue. Immediately contact your gas company to inspect the situation—most have an emergency number for such situations. Knowing potential symptoms and acting on them if they happen is one of the best precautions you can take.
Keep the Area Around Your Gas Heater Clear
Maintaining a clean area around your gas heater is another way to keep your home and family safe. The room where your gas heater is can be a tempting place to store infrequently used things like tools or construction items. But having the wrong items too close to your heater could be cause for disaster.
Flammable items in particular are especially important to keep away from your heater. Things like gasoline, paint, or items producing sawdust are a hazard when stored too closely to gas heating systems. These items are highly flammable and will contribute to fire should it happen.
Replace or Clean Your Filter Regularly
Your filter plays a large role in the performance of your gas heater. Proper air flow can contribute to the system working properly, but a clogged filter can decrease your system’s efficiency as well as contribute to unhealthy air quality in your home. For those reasons, it’s important to make sure the filter is clear and free of any debris. Depending on the type of filter you have, you can either replace it entirely or clean it frequently when you notice it’s clogged. Make sure your gas heating system can breathe, and it will have a better chance of working properly.
Have Regular Maintenance Performed
Maintenance is key when it comes to gas heating systems, especially with older models. This checkup, when done by a professional, can ensure your system is working properly or detect a problem before it becomes more serious. When larger issues happen, it’s often the result of a small issue going unchecked for a long period of time. Prevent this from happening with your heater by having regular maintenance conducted on your gas heating system.
For better peace of mind, enroll in a maintenance program with your local HVAC professionals. Entek offers a planned maintenance program that will keep your system in great shape while offering you additional benefits and discounts. Entek will keep track of your maintenance record and warranty information and give you a heads up when maintenance is needed for your unit.
Aside from keeping your unit working well, you can also enjoy fewer emergency repairs, lower utility bills, and an extended life on your unit. If you’re in the Oregon or Washington area, contact Entek to help you with all of your HVAC needs.