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Furnace Tune Up Helps Prevent Carbon Monoxide Danger

As the heating season approaches, O&R reminds its customers that a key factor in heating a building safely is the proper maintenance of its heating system by a qualified heating contractor to help identify and address any carbon monoxide issues.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is invisible, odorless and tasteless. It is formed by the incomplete burning of fuels such as heating oil, wood, gasoline, natural gas, propane and charcoal. 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. 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.

Breathing even small amounts of carbon monoxide 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 home and seek medical attention.

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

To prevent a carbon monoxide problem, make sure that a plumber or qualified heating contractor services your furnace each year to:

* Adjust your heating system’s thermostat.
* Inspect the flue for leaks.
* Lubricate the blower motor, fan motor and circulator pump.
* Check operating efficiency of heating controls.
* Replace cracked, worn or frayed blower belts.
* Clean or replace filter.
To do your part to reduce 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.

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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.