Furnace Tune Up Helps Prevent Carbon Monoxide Danger

As the winter heating season begins, O&R reminds its customers to prevent dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by making sure that a plumber or qualified heating contractor services your furnace each year.

When heating units or motors are not working properly, or if exhaust fumes and chimneys are not properly vented outdoors, carbon monoxide can accumulate in the home, building or garage.

Proper maintenance would:

* Adjust your heating system’s thermostat.
* Inspect the flue for leaks.
* Lubricate the blower motor, fan motor and circulator pump.
* Replace cracked, worn or frayed blower belts.
* Clean or replace filter.
* Breathing even small amounts of carbon monoxide, which is odorless, colorless and tasteless, can result in headaches, dizziness and nausea. Prolonged exposure can result in more severe illness, or even death. If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately open the windows in your building and seek medical attention.

The signs of a CO problem are stale, stuffy air and high indoor humidity, fallen soot from a fireplace chimney or furnace flue and no draft in the chimney or flue.

To do your part to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:

* Never use a gas oven or range to heat a room.
* Never leave a vehicle or gasoline-powered equipment running in a garage, even with the garage door open.
* Operate a portable electric generator outdoors away from air intakes to the building.
The dangers of CO can be reduced by the installation of approved CO detectors, which can provide early warning of accumulated CO before it reaches a dangerous level.

If you smell natural gas, leave the area immediately and, from a safe location, call O&R’s Gas Emergency Hotline 1-800-533-5325.