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Keeping Your Home Warm And Safe

February 11, 2014, 6:04 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Keeping Your Home Warm And Safe

Staying warm is especially important during this cold winter weather, but there's a chance your furnace could make you sick.

Homeowners need to be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter when furnaces are working overtime and cars are warming up in the garage.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 170 people die every year from carbon monoxide that comes from household appliances.

"When it's not working right or hasn't been cleaned, it will fail more often," Troy Ripperda of Waterbury Heating and Cooling said.

A poorly running furnace can not only fail but it can quickly fill a home with carbon monoxide.

"It's a gas appliance and it can kill you if it's not working properly," Ripperda said.

Experts at Waterbury Heating and Cooling say a furnace needs to be checked every year to make sure it's not emitting carbon monoxide into your home. A yearly examination usually costs less than $100.

When KELOLAND News followed along to a routine check, Ripperda found a problem with the furnace.

"Her gas pressure is too high so she's burning hot and whenever you burn hot in an appliance, there's also a possibility you could crack the heat exchange, which would produce carbon monoxide," Ripperda said.

Fire officials also echo heating experts and say the best way to prevent carbon monoxide from seeping into your home is to have your furnace checked every year.

"A lot of times it will be furnaces need to be maintained. Anything that's combustible material that can burn has the potential to put out carbon monoxide," Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Division Chief Jeff Helm said.

Homeowners should also regularly replace the air filter and make sure snow and ice aren't building up on the vents outside, because if you don't pay attention to the largest appliance in your home, it could create a dangerous and even deadly situation.

Another main source of carbon monoxide in your home is your car, and with this winter's cold weather, you likely warm it up almost daily. So, just how high can carbon monoxide levels reach in your garage? We'll have that story in Tuesday's Eye On KELOLAND at 10 p.m.

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