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Heating Dangers: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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POSTED: Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 6:08pm

UPDATED: Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 6:45pm

EL PASO - Starting your heater could turn your home into a death trap, not just because of fire, but because of a deadly gas that you can't see, smell, or taste.

"In the last couple of days we have found two homes that were already running the furnace, and they were fortunate to call us. We went out and found carbon monoxide coming out of both furnaces," Sam Baeza said.

Baeza owns Sun Valley Mechanical. We followed one of his technicians as he inspected a furnace for problems, including carbon monoxide.

First he pulled out the old filter and replaced it with a new one.

"Furnaces do tend to run a little hotter if the filters are clogged up. That could do two things. It can damage an actual furnace, or it could actually start a fire," Baeza said.

After the furnace lit safely, the technician checked to see if carbon monoxide was pouring out of the vents. The machine he used sucks in air and measures levels of the gas. In the house today, no levels showed up.

Those are just two parts of a 15-point inspection the technician performs. If you can't afford to get your entire heater inspected, Sun Valley Mechanical says they can check for just carbon monoxide, but it costs about $70. It's a price they say is well worth it.

"It can kill people, and it can get people very sick, send people to the hospital," Baeza said.

He also recommends smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

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