Keeping your home appliances up to date and safe this winter

As you turn up that heat, it may be a good idea to check that your home appliances are up and running to keep you safe.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 5:43 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – It’s that time of the year again when furnaces are up in running, warming our homes from the low temperatures. As you turn up that heat, it may be a good idea to check that your home appliances are up and running to keep you safe.

So far in 2022, Rochester Fire Department (RFD) has responded to 68 carbon monoxide alarm or illness calls.

“We always encourage people anytime an alarm sounds to make sure they’re safe,” RFD fire inspector Jason Fife said.

RFD says they see an increase in carbon monoxide calls in the late fall, into all of winter and early spring.

“With the furnace running more in the fall, winter and early spring, we see a spike in calls for that,” Fife said.

HVAC specialist say a household furnace should be replaced every 12-15 years.

“It depends on how it was taken care of and maintained. It could be less than that if you did not maintain it. It’s gonna break. It’s gonna have trouble,” Haley Comfort Systems owner Tom Haley said.

Maintenance is key to avoid the risks and ensure your safety.

“Anytime it’s dirty, it starves it of air. It cycles a lot more. That will wear down a furnace,” Haley said.

Experts say once your furnace is installed, avoid messing with the equipment.

“If it was installed correctly and you try to bypass that to think you’re beating the system, it’s not safe,” Haley said.

A faulty furnace may lead to a carbon monoxide leak which could be deadly.

“That’s when it’s running harder. Your windows are closed, your house is closed up and that’s where it will emit the carbon,” Haley said.

“Even though the majority of those alarms are plug-in devices, so they’re drawing out of the house power, the battery can still become corroded,” Fife said.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas that can cause a variety of symptoms.

“Nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, dizziness are all signs and symptoms,” Fife said.

While carbon monoxide leaks happen more often in the winter, safety experts say it’s a good idea to be cautious year-round.

“It’s always good practice to have them year-round, in working order, because they are there to save your life,” Fife said.

RFD says one of the number one misconception about carbon monoxide detectors is the sounds they make. A smoke detector beeps three times with a one second pause in between. A carbon monoxide detector beeps four times with a one second pause in between. Low battery alerts in either device is a single chip every one minute.