While gas is a good way to heat, gas heaters must be used in a safe manner. A gas heater can produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. It can create headaches, nausea, dizziness, chest pains, shortness of breath, and in extreme cases, unconsciousness which could lead to death.
Gas heaters need to be installed by a professional and checked regularly on a recommended service plan. The reason is simple. A heater that is unsafe can cause a fire or send out dangerous carbon monoxide. If it is serviced properly, it should be both economical and safe to use.
Times to call in a professional are:
- If you smell gas…don’t light anything or use your cell phone. Open a door or windows, leave the house, call the gas company or fire department, and let them deal with this emergency.
- Call your HVAC professional if there is any indication of trouble with the heater.
- If people are not feeling well, if there is a general malaise with carbon monoxide symptoms, you need to call a professional. This implies that you should know what constitutes carbon monoxide symptoms.
- Call a HVAC professional according to the recommended service schedule for your air conditioner.
When you do call a professional, make sure he is licensed to do the work for which you have called him. If it is an emergency air quality issue, he can find out if the gas heater is emitting carbon monoxide. If he is there for a regular service maintenance call, your HVAC professional can clean the ducts, and make sure that the heater is clean and running properly. He can also test the gas pressure of the lines to make sure the pressure of the lines is correct. If not, this can indicate a leak somewhere.
Health problems that occur with a problematic gas heater include: being tired, headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, confusion, weakness, chest pain, and dizziness. If you think you have carbon monoxide problems, turn off the heater, open doors and windows, get fresh air, and check with your health professional. Of course, call your HVAC professional to fix the problem.
If you use a gas heater, there are some safety rules to follow. Never store flammable materials near a gas heater. They can ignite and explode. Even if a heater is not running, there is a pilot that may be on. Also, there needs to be some way of fresh ventilation. Oxygen is used as the gas flame burns. There needs to be a way to replace it. There is a balance between making the house airtight enough that the heat does not continually escape through cracks, and having a means whereby you are getting fresh oxygen into the house to replace what is lost. Again, this is a discussion to have with you HVAC professional.
Gas heat can be a good form of heat, if proper safety and efficiency precautions are followed.