October 10, 2022
AUSTIN– Does your natural gas or propane heating system vent carbon monoxide and flue gases outside where they can safely dissipate? Or has your system developed leaks that could allow carbon monoxide to migrate into your living space and potentially cause a life-threatening situation for your family?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that can be fatal in high concentrations. Have a licensed air conditioning and heating contractor assess your system each fall to make sure no problems have developed over the previous year.
If your home doesn’t already have combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, be sure to install them before the first north comes. Detectors should be placed outside of all sleeping areas in a home heated with natural gas or propane. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include a dull headache, weakness, and dizziness. Higher concentrations will cause nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, unconsciousness and death.
“Checking to see if your contractor is licensed and if the technician servicing your equipment is registered with TDLR is an important step in protecting yourself against shoddy and unsafe work,” said William Weatherly, air conditioning and refrigeration program manager from TDLR. “Licensed contractors and registered technicians have undergone criminal background checks and received the required training. Licensed contractors have passed a comprehensive exam and completed annual continuing education courses. »
The first step in hiring an air conditioning and heating contractor should be to check out the TDLR website (www.tdlr.texas.gov) to ensure they are licensed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
Once you have confirmed that the contractor is TDLR approved, here are several things they should inspect in your heating system:
- Air treatment and furnace (natural gas, propane)
- Check the gas connection for leaks. Improperly functioning gas connections are a fire hazard and a health problem.
- Check the gas pressure and the good combustion of the burner. Poor gas pressure and/or a dirty burner will cause the equipment to operate less efficiently.
- Check that the heat exchanger is not cracked and that it is correctly connected. A cracked heat exchanger or improper flue connection can cause deadly carbon monoxide to leak into living spaces.
- All systems
- Check incoming power and tighten connections if necessary.
- Check operation and sequence of thermostat and system controls.
- Check the air handling unit for good airflow.
- Heat pump and electric heating systems
- Check heat pump heating cycle and reversing valve operation.
- Check the operation of the “emergency heater”, which is activated if the heat pump fails or is in a defrost cycle.
- Check the proper operation of the electric strip heaters when the system is energized.
- Listen for abnormal noises and look for the source of unusual smells.
- Clean and inspect fan assembly.
- Older units: Lubricate motor and replace fan belt if necessary.
- Replace filters and educate the customer on efficient operation