Keep Your Family Safe From Carbon Monoxide This Winter

  • By Kim Morgan
  • 01 Dec, 2017
Your heating system is meant to keep you warm and comfortable. You would hate to have it turn against you and do more harm than good, but in fact, that does happen to an average of 430 people who die of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning each year in the United States.

CO is a poisonous, odorless gas that's emitted whenever fuel is burned. If your heating system is working properly, CO should be vented out of your home. But sadly, there are rare cases in which that does not happen. Luckily, you can almost always prevent CO poisoning by being proactive. Here are five key ways to keep your family safe this winter.

Have All HVAC Work Done By Professionals

Even if you're a seasoned DIYer, you should never work on your heating system yourself. HVAC professionals have years of training to ensure they install systems properly to prevent CO leaks. Whether your duct work needs adjusting or your furnace is making a banging noise, it's worth paying a professional for the assurance of safety.

Keep An Eye Out For Signs Of A Cracked Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger is the metal component that surrounds the furnace's burner. Heat passes through the exchanger and into the air being blown through your home. If the exchanger cracks, then CO can leak through that crack and into your indoor air. Cracked heat exchangers are one of the most common causes of CO poisoning because many people don't recognize the signs of a cracked heat exchanger, which include:
  • Soot accumulation on the outside of the furnace
  • A chemical odor when your furnace runs
  • Water condensing on the floor near your furnace
  • A rattling noise right before the blower turns on
These signs don't always  indicate a cracked heat exchanger. For instance, a rattling noise is sometimes due to loose connections in the ducts. However, you're always better safe than sorry, so turn off your furnace and call an HVAC professional if you notice any of these possible signs of a cracked heat exchanger.

Check Your CO Detectors

CO detectors regularly take samples of the air and make a ringing noise if they detect CO. You should have a CO detector on each floor of your home. Make sure one is located close enough to your bedroom that you'll hear it at night. Check the batteries monthly and change the batteries twice per year. Invest in new CO detectors every 10 years.

Know The Warning Signs

Knowing the signs of CO poisoning will help you detect the issue before it turns deadly. If anyone in your family is experiencing headaches, weakness, confusion, and dizziness that get worse when they are at home, consider the possibility of CO poisoning.

Always seek medical care when CO poisoning is suspected; it's considered a medical emergency. Don't return to the home until an HVAC professional or your local fire department has deemed it safe.

Be Careful With Generators And Other Gas Appliances

It's not just your furnace that releases CO! Any other fuel-burning appliance, such as a gas generator or a gas stove, can cause CO poisoning, too. Follow these general tips for safety:
  • Only run your generator outside, and make sure it is far from any windows, doors, or vents.
  • Never heat your home with a stove or oven.
  • Do not grill outside or near your windows.
  • Have all fireplaces inspected once a year before you begin using them.
CO poisoning is scary, but there is plenty you can do to protect yourself during heating season. If you ever notice anything amiss with your heating system, don't hesitate to give  Dalton Heating & Air Conditioning .   We'll look your system over and make sure any problems are dealt with before they put your family at risk.
By Kim Morgan 05 Jan, 2018
Winter weather is here, and that means your home heating system is about to start its annual workout. If you haven't already, it's time for your system to get its annual check-up. You take yourself to the doctor for a yearly wellness visit, so why not do the same for your furnace or boiler?

Having a pro come in and service your heater can help you, your home, and your bank account in more than a few ways. If you've skipped a year, or a few, you can always get back into the groove and start regular maintenance service.

Why should you make a point of scheduling pre-season service checks for your heater? Take a look at the benefits that this type of maintenance brings.
By Kim Morgan 01 Dec, 2017
Your heating system is meant to keep you warm and comfortable. You would hate to have it turn against you and do more harm than good, but in fact, that does happen to an average of 430 people who die of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning each year in the United States.

CO is a poisonous, odorless gas that's emitted whenever fuel is burned. If your heating system is working properly, CO should be vented out of your home. But sadly, there are rare cases in which that does not happen. Luckily, you can almost always prevent CO poisoning by being proactive. Here are five key ways to keep your family safe this winter.
By Kim Morgan 19 Sep, 2017
Perhaps your furnace isn't exactly new. Maybe it's not heating your home like it should. Or maybe it's making noises night and day. But does that mean you need a new one?

The decision of whether to repair or replace a furnace isn't always easy. Replacing a furnace is a major expense, one that you might not be ready to make. When your seemingly sturdy furnace suddenly fails, you may not have the home improvement budget to replace it right away. That said, in some situations replacing your furnace offers some benefits over repairing it.

How do you know when it's time to replace and not just repair your furnace? Take a look at some of the top signs that signal the need for a replacement.
By Kim Morgan 14 Aug, 2017

There are plenty of important things to consider when choosing a new air conditioner for your home. One of the most important, however, involves the size of your new unit. After all, the same unit that can easily tackle a 1,000-square-foot house might not be as effective at cooling a 5,000-square-foot mansion.

There's also a tendency for many homeowners and even some HVAC experts to deliberately choose the wrong size air conditioner, usually in the name of cost or energy-efficiency. The following explains why it's so important to choose the right size air conditioner, as well as the consequences of buying a unit that's either too big or too small for your home.

The Meaning of "Size" and How It Relates to A/C Systems

When HVAC technicians talk about the "size" of an air conditioner, they're usually referring to the unit's capacity for providing cool, conditioned air. Such performance is usually measured in either British thermal units (BTUs) or "tons," which is why you'll sometimes hear technicians refer to an air conditioning system as a one-ton or two-ton unit, for example. This jargon stems from the days when people used blocks of ice for refrigeration and air-conditioning, but there's also a scientific reason behind it.

In order to melt a single pound of ice under room temperature conditions, you'll need 143 BTUs of heat energy in order to get the job done. Now scale this up to a ton of ice-now you'll need approximately 286,000 BTUs of heat energy to melt that much ice. If you want to get that much ice melted within a 24-hour period, then you'll need to somehow generate 12,000 BTUs of heat energy per hour to make that happen.

So now it's established that it takes 12,000 BTUs of heat energy per hour to completely melt a one-ton block of ice. This explains why an air conditioner with a cooling capacity rated at 24,000 BTUs per hour is often referred to as a two-ton unit.

What Happens When You Choose the Wrong Size

No two homes are alike when it comes to their cooling demands. Differences in insulation, orientation, climate, ventilation and a host of other factors can mean the difference between choosing a one-ton unit or a two-ton unit. Nevertheless, homeowners often choose undersized or oversized air conditioning systems based on the following fallacies:

  • An oversized A/C unit offers quicker and more effective cooling
  • An undersized A/C unit offers greater energy-efficiency due to its smaller cooling capacity
  • It doesn't matter what size A/C unit you choose as they all perform the same

An oversized air conditioner may be able to cool your home's indoor spaces faster, but at the expense of poor moisture control, increased wear and tear on internal components and a shortened lifespan due to excessive wear. An undersized air conditioner won't have enough cooling capacity to meet your home's cooling demands. As a result, it'll continuously struggle to reach your desired indoor temperature, wasting energy while creating excessive wear and tear in the process.

How to Pick the Right Size

Choosing the right size air conditioner for your home means sizing up your home's cooling needs. Some HVAC technicians do just that by following the traditional rule of thumb. While this method is relatively simple to use, it also leaves out several factors that could have a tremendous effect on your home comfort, including your home's square footage.

In order to get a more accurate picture of what your home needs, you should have your HVAC technician perform a manual J-load calculation. This process goes further in-depth to reveal how much cooling capacity your air conditioner will need to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the season. Armed with the knowledge gleaned from the load calculation, you'll be able to choose the best air conditioner that offers the exact level of cooling your home requires.

Contact us  at Dalton Heating & Air Conditioning to learn more or to get an estimate.

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