Furnace season heats up carbon monoxide risk
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A Tucson family is working to recover from a furnace fire that caused about thirty thousand dollars in damage Monday night. But fire is not the only threat from your furnace.
Carbon monoxide can kill before you even realize you have a problem.
Visiting a house in midtown, we saw Josh Barba performing a life saving test. He's a technician for Advantage Air Mechanical and as part of a furnace check up, he used a special instrument to check for carbon monoxide leaks.
He says, ''If there's any crack where the tape is, underneath the tape if there's a crack in it it'll tend to leak carbon monoxide."
Burning almost anything produces the gas.
It can bring on headache and nausea. If you don't get fresh air you could die.
It's essential to know you have a leak before enough of the gas can collect to disable you.
That's where carbon monoxide detectors come in. You install them much like a smoke detector and can buy them the same places.
At Desert Vista Ace Hardware, manager Bob Dorsey sees demand pick up as the heating season begins.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked: "In a lot of cases you can get a combo with a smoke detector now?"
Dorsey says, "Yes, the smoke detector like this, smoke and carbon monoxide, some of them are battery powered, battery backup with 120 power."
But safety experts warn not to let a detector give you a false sense of security. There is no substitute for properly installed heating equipment, with regular inspections to be sure they stay safe.
Carbon monoxide's not just a potential problem for your heater. Water heaters and similar appliances can produce it too.
Sometimes people will even bring in charcoal grills for extra heat when it's cold. They are a fire and a carbon monoxide hazard indoors.