While today’s heating and cooling systems are engineered for maximum safety and reliability, it’s still a good idea to be aware of HVAC danger signs. Furnaces and air conditioners incorporate a number of potentially dangerous elements and HVAC danger signs, such as flammable natural gas, high operating temperatures, pressurized refrigerant, toxic exhaust fumes, and high-voltage electricity.

Professionally installed and regularly maintained, hazards relating to furnaces and air conditioners are minimized. However, it’s still a good idea to be familiar with any HVAC danger signs that might occur.

  • Burning smells. Gas furnaces often produce a burning smell the first time the unit is started up for the season. Usually, it’s just dust accumulated on the burners, and the odor dissipates rapidly. Burning odors at any other time — including the smell of overheating wiring or components — should not be ignored. Shut down the furnace or AC and contact your HVAC contractor.
  • Natural gas leaks. Known as the “rotten egg” odor, it’s a critical warning sign of potentially deadly exposure from a furnace gas leak. If you notice the odor or otherwise suspect a leak, don’t spend time attempting to track down and resolve the issue yourself. Get all occupants out of the house immediately and call the fire department or your municipal gas company.
  • Carbon monoxide. This invisible, odorless gas is a byproduct of most types of fuel combustion, including natural gas in your furnace. Protect yourself by installing carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of the house and just outside the door of every bedroom. Install new detector batteries on schedule per the manufacturer’s instructions, and test the units regularly.
  • Mold contamination. Central AC units condense many gallons of water vapor on hot humid summer days. Collected water flows into the home’s drain system. If the drain is slow or clogged, however, toxic mold growth may contaminate the indoor AC air handler. Some persons experience allergic reactions and other symptoms from inhaling mold spores. Regular annual maintenance by an HVAC technician includes inspecting and cleaning the condensate drain system.

For more information about HVAC danger signs and what they mean, contact the experienced professionals at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing

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