In our part of the world, natural gas forced air furnaces and gas fired boilers for Hydronic (hot water) heating systems are by far the most common methods by which homes are heated today. In either case, a fire created by combining oxygen (air) with a flammable gas (natural gas) is utilized to manufacture heat – which in turn heats the home. Obviously, there are many factors related to this process that are critical safety considerations. It’s not that different from what we all learned as kids – fire can be your friend, and it can also be hazardous!
Carbon monoxide, an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas is a by-product of fuel burning combustion that can be deadly to humans. CO detectors are recommended near all bedrooms and at each end of the home to add protection. If one goes off, get out of the house and have someone investigate right away. Although more expensive, low-level carbon monoxide monitors are also available, which can provide a first level warning the instant CO is detected – and as suggested at very low levels.
I know we beat this drum a lot, but maintain your home’s HVAC system and change those filters regularly. A furnace system or boiler operating at peak efficiency will burn cleanly, and a clean filter allows the whole system to “breathe” the way it is designed to.
Here’s our video on how to replace furnace filters:
Finally, make sure you know the location and how to operate all gas shut-off valves and switches related to the heating system. If there is an emergency, every resident of the home should know how to effectively shut down the gas and electricity to the furnace or boiler.