Evanston carbon monoxide poisoning possibly caused by furnace problems

What you can do about your furnace

The Evanston carbon monoxide poisoning caused the evacuation of the building with levels of 200 ppm in the two-flat residence. Although the source of the leak is still unknown, a common problem this time of year is with furnaces, especially if they have not been run over the summer months. As the weather starts to cool down and the heating systems start to fire up, it’s important to get your furnace checked.

You might be wondering if this is really necessary. You might wonder if it’s worth your time and money to have a contractor come out and check your furnace, or if it’s something you can do yourself. A furnace “tune-up” can vary greatly from company to company, so it’s important to ask what the contractor will be doing.

One blog about home inspections includes a generic list of what different furnace manufacturers recommend to be done by a qualified heating technician.

  • Inspect vent system for blockage or leakage.
  • Analyze and compare combustion gases to the unit specifications.
  • Check blower access door to ensure a tight seal.
  • Inspect fresh air intake grills and louvers for blockage.
  • Check heat exchanger for rust and corrosion.
  • Inspect burners for proper ignition, burner flame, and flame sense.
  • Check drainage system for blockage or leakage, including hoses internal to furnace. Inspect condensate drain and trap, and replace water in the trap.
  • Check blower wheel for debris and clean it if required. This includes removing the blower wheel.
  • Conduct amp-draw test on the blower motor and compare to what is listed.
  • Inspect wiring for corrosion and damage.
  • Check out filters (more frequently than annually.)

While the homeowner could possibly do this him or herself, he or she would have to have the knowledge necessary to complete the above tasks. The best bet is to hire a professional both for safety and for preventative maintenance. Before you hire someone, ask for a list of maintenance tasks that they will be performing so you know what you are paying for.


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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