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How Scheduling Maintenance for Your Heater Can Help You to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


Once the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, winter is here. For many of us this means we will be forced to spend more time indoors. Unfortunately, not only does the air in your home tend to be dirtier than it is outside, but you also run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning because of your home’s heating system. To heat your home, most heaters must combine a fuel source, oxygen, and a spark. For heaters that use gas, oil, or propane, carbon monoxide can be created when there is less oxygen than what is needed.

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Here are a few ways that a routine maintenance appointment for your heater can help to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Does your heater have enough air/oxygen to operate safely? This can be calculated and should be part of any heater maintenance performed by a certified technician. Heaters and water heaters need 50 cubic feet of air (L x W x H) in order to operate safely. An average home in NJ, PA, or DE with a 100,000 BTU heater and 40,000 BTU water heater needs to be in a room that is 25’ x 35’ (140,000/50 = 7000 = 8’ ceiling x 25’ x 35’). Is your basement or utility room big enough to ensure safety for your family? A trained service technician will be able to tell you!

If your basement or utility room is not large enough to ensure your families’ safety you need to create “make-up air” by cutting a hole. How big of a hole can also be calculated by a certified and trained technician.

One of the most important parts of any heater, and one of the major parts which a trained technician will inspect, is your heater’s heat exchanger. For homes with “forced air furnaces,” the heat exchanger is the thin piece of metal which separates the air that circulates in your home from the air used to make the fire which heats your home. If there is a crack in the heat exchanger, then carbon monoxide (which should escape up your chimney) can get into your ductwork and be distributed throughout your home.

Just like your cooking grill, the burners are the part of your heater where gas is added to the fire.  Just like your cooking grill, over time, the burners can develop a buildup which can interfere with how much gas is sent to make the fire. A trained technician will have no issues removing the burners and hand scrubbing them clean again which ensures safe operation.

The gas manifold in your furnace controls how much gas is sent to the burners at any time. The gas manifold is set based on the size of your furnace, gas pipe size, and distance from gas meter, local gas supply conditions, and a host of other factors: all of which a qualified technician should be able to perform during your heater’s tune-up which can save you money, and make sure your family can enjoy a peaceful and healthy winter season!

Here at Hutchinson Plumbing Heating Cooling, we have been servicing heaters in Camden County and Gloucester County, New Jersey since 1948. Out $55.55 special for season heater cleaning is the perfect way to ensure your family can rest easy this winter knowing they are safe from the harms of carbon monoxide. Call us today at 866-953-8728, or fill out a Contact Form to schedule a check-up, or any service for a heater in your South Jersey home.