For homeowners in Lexington and the surrounding area of Eastern Massachusetts, a boiler is a common method of heating a home. Boilers, like most other types of heating systems, can be very reliable and provide a satisfying amount of heat production even during the cold winters we experience in Lexington. However, it’s vital that a boiler system is well maintained and kept in good working condition to prevent hazardous carbon monoxide (CO) from leaking into the home.
Carbon monoxide gas is a byproduct of combustion in boilers, furnaces, gas-fired appliances, generators, and other fuel-burning equipment. Under normal conditions, any carbon monoxide produced is sent outdoors through the exhaust flue. As long as the system is working correctly, there’s little risk that you or your family may be exposed to carbon monoxide.
However, damage or deterioration of the heat exchanger, vent system, or flue can allow carbon monoxide to leak out into your Lexington home’s air supply.
Every property owner in Lexington should know the danger that carbon monoxide poses. When it escapes from a heating system’s flue pipes or vents, it enters the home as a clear, odorless gas. Excess carbon monoxide isn’t the same as carbon dioxide leaking. Carbon dioxide is a colorless gas that’s naturally present in the air we breathe. It’s also produced during the respiration process. Carbon monoxide, on the other hand, can be lethal.
When you breathe in carbon monoxide gas, it gets absorbed through the lungs and displaces oxygen in the bloodstream. As carbon monoxide levels rise in a home, the risk of CO poisoning and serious harm increases. At low levels, breathing in the gas can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, and vomiting. High levels of carbon monoxide in the blood can quickly cause a loss of consciousness and death.
To prevent Lexington CO leaks and limit the risk of carbon monoxide exposure, homeowners need to be proactive about maintaining their heating system and stay alert to developing problems. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the threat of carbon monoxide exposure in your Lexington home:
The most essential step Lexington property owners can take to minimize the risk of carbon monoxide leaks is scheduling a full inspection of their boiler yearly. This means having a licensed Lexington professional, such as 128 Plumbing, out to service the boiler, check that the flue is in good condition, and ensure exhaust fumes containing carbon monoxide are vented properly. This low-cost investment can help keep your family safe from carbon monoxide exposure.
Another key way to limit the danger of carbon monoxide leaks is to have your air filter cleaned or replaced regularly, according to the manufacturer’s requirements. A Lexington heating professional from 128 Plumbing can handle this task for you. Adequate airflow is essential to keep the boiler system working correctly and safely. When the air filter becomes clogged with dust and debris, it can affect the operation of the heating system and increase the likelihood that carbon monoxide leaks occur.
Many homes in Lexington have very old boilers. Older systems are often much less energy efficient, and they’re also more prone to problems that lead to carbon monoxide leaks. If your older Lexington home has an aging boiler system, our heating and cooling team can assess it and advise you if replacing it can provide a safer home environment for your family and help you save on your yearly heating costs too.
The quality of installation of a Lexington home’s boiler system impacts its safe operation. If you’ve just moved into your Lexington home, you can have peace of mind that the boiler is properly installed by having one of our licensed technicians from 128 Plumbing complete a full heating system inspection. While this isn’t a common occurrence in Lexington homes, a poorly installed system can allow carbon monoxide to escape and put the occupants in danger. If you’re not sure if your home’s system was professionally and correctly installed, scheduling an inspection can help minimize any risk of CO leaks.
When it comes to warning you about the presence of carbon monoxide gas, the importance of fully functional carbon monoxide detectors can’t be overstated, and every Lexington home should have at least one. While these devices can’t prevent carbon monoxide leaks, they can keep your family safe from the harm caused by CO exposure. Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to sound an alarm if the amount of CO in the air reaches an unsafe level. Our Lexington team can advise you on where carbon monoxide detectors are needed, inspect existing devices to verify they’re correctly installed and functioning properly, or install additional detectors if necessary.
Even if you take the above steps to protect your Lexington home, you may have carbon monoxide leaks occurring that you don’t know about. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional routinely perform carbon monoxide inspections in your Lexington home. Our team at 128 Plumbing provides these services throughout the Lexington area.
We know how to spot the signs of damage that may pose a hazard in any component of the furnace, boiler, or another heating unit in your Lexington home. This can include leaks in exhaust pipes or seams or cracks in the combustion chamber. We also check whether the combustion process is complete or there’s an increased likelihood that CO is being produced and possibly leaking into the air supply your family breathes.
If the CO alarm sounds in your Lexington home, leave the premises immediately and don’t return until a licensed technician has found and addressed the source of the carbon monoxide leak. It’s also vital to thoroughly air out the home to clear out the CO gas. Wait until it’s verified that the levels inside your Lexington home are normal before returning.
If you need carbon monoxide testing or CO leak diagnosis and repair in your Lexington home, call us at 128 Plumbing. Our team of experienced heating professionals is also available to provide boiler and heating system inspections and service in the Lexington area and throughout Eastern Massachusetts.