Experts say maintenance is crucial to home furnaces

500 die every year in the United States from carbon monoxide poisoning

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - This cold weather means people all over will be turning on their furnaces. However, this presents the danger of possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that every year around 500 people die in the United States from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless, and undetected exposure can be fatal.

Experts say the two biggest ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning are to have a functioning carbon monoxide detector in your home and to give your furnace regular and proper maintenance.

Whether you do it yourself, or hire someone to do it for you, experts say proper maintenance with your furnace is crucial.

"A crack in the heat exchanger will cause the carbon monoxide to be introduced into the duct work, which would then go into the house and could kill you," said Rob Sachse, heating and ventilation expert.

Experts say you can do it yourself, but if you don't know how to service or maintain a furnace it's best to hire a professional.

"The first maintenance is checking the heat exchanger, checking all the safety features, inspecting the blower, the gas valves and burner assembly," said Sachse.

Carbon monoxide detectors can be picked up at home improvement centers and most retail stores. The prices for these potential lifesavers start at just $35.

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