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The Reliable

Carbon Monoxide & Air Conditioners: What You Should Know


Carbon Monoxide & Air Conditioners: What you Should Know

Carbon monoxide safety is a very important facet of home safety that homeowners should always take into account. The odorless and colorless gas is extremely toxic and can cause severe injury or even death due to overexposure. Because the gas is undetectable by smell, periodic inspection and maintenance of your HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) system is recommended to keep the danger at bay and keep your family safe.

Several circumstances can cause carbon monoxide to accumulate in your home or HVAC system. These include, but are not limited to, propane or natural gas-powered stoves, water heaters and furnaces. Other potential areas of concern are automobiles, lawn equipment and barbecue grills. The problem arises when this invisible and odorless gas is dispersed throughout your home via your air conditioner's ventilation system.

What Are the Causes?

Carbon monoxide gas is produced from burning combustible fossil fuels such as natural gas, propane, gasoline, kerosene or oil, among others. Home appliances that use these types of fuels are connected to a vent stack or series of vents that divert the fumes to your homes exterior, where they are absorbed or dissipate into the atmosphere. When these vents become obstructed or cracked, they allow the gas to escape and potentially accumulate in your home’s attic and crawl space. When combined with a leaking air conditioner system, the dangers grow exponentially. This derives from the chance the vacuum created inside the HVAC duct — when your system is running — can suck in this poisonous gas and disperse it throughout your home.

What Can Be Done?

Periodic inspection, and when necessary, repairs to your gas appliances and HVAC system can help to reduce carbon monoxide exposure. By keeping these appliances and their ductwork in tip-top condition, you can significantly reduce or eliminate this deadly gas from entering your living areas.

Safety Tips

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.
  • Never leave an automobile or other gas-powered equipment such as a lawn mower running in a closed garage.
  • Back your car out of the garage when allowing it to warm up.
  • Never use a gas or charcoal grill in your home or in an enclosed area where the smoke and fumes cannot escape.
  • Follow manufacturer’s operating instructions and precautions when using a space heater.
  • If you suspect carbon monoxide gas in your home, open the windows and leave the premises immediately.

Always be aware of your surroundings, even in the safety of your own home. Carbon monoxide is a deadly and silent killer; do not underestimate its danger. Maintain your gas-powered appliances and HVAC system by regularly scheduling periodic maintenance and service. Monitor any carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly, and change batteries as necessary.

Homeowners living in the the greater Atlanta metro area seeking additional information or service regarding their air conditioners or carbon monoxide safety can contact Reliable Heating & Air. Reliable Heating & Air has provided outstanding customer care and support in the greater Atlanta area for more than 35 years.