Faulty, dirty furnaces
Have a professional clean and inspect the furnace. Manufacturers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommend this be done annually to prevent a potentially deadly buildup of carbon monoxide (CO). (See this EPA guide to CO.)
This maintenance is less about money and more about safety. (The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 80 people die each year in the United States from carbon-monoxide poisoning caused by malfunctioning heating systems.) But a broken furnace can lead to other costly problems, such as frozen and burst pipes.
The problem: The fuel we use to heat homes — oil, gas, wood, etc. — is made up of hydrocarbons, which release a small amount of carbon monoxide when burned. That amount increases when insufficient oxygen is present to form carbon dioxide. This happens in enclosed spaces.
In addition, dirty or malfunctioning equipment can contribute to carbon soot deposits in the piping. A furnace that’s saturated with carbon buildup and then blocked by debris can kick dangerous levels of CO back into the home. The gas is odorless, colorless and toxic.
The fix: An inspection by a professional heating technician can ensure that the chimney is drafting properly and is free of sand, brick or nests. A cleaning will remove soot and prevent dirt from damaging the firing mechanisms of the pilots, sensors and burners.
shared by MSN Realtor