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can hvac cause carbon monoxide

Can HVAC Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

If you have concerns about your home’s heating and cooling system, call Green Mechanical Energy Inc., Canton’s trusted HVAC company, at (781) 236-3421. Our trained technicians diagnose and solve even the trickiest problems to keep your family safe and comfortable. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a concern for Canton area homeowners. When the colorless and odorless gas accumulates in a poorly ventilated area, it can cause serious illness or even death. While most people know that the gas can come from vehicle and engine exhaust, many wonder, “Can an HVAC system cause carbon monoxide poisoning?”

Air Conditioning and Carbon Monoxide

Burning fossil fuels like oil and gas produces carbon monoxide. This means AC units don’t produce the chemical because they don’t require burning any fuel to operate. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk of carbon monoxide leaking into your home with the help of an AC unit.

If you have an appliance, like a gas stove, leaking carbon monoxide into the attic or crawlspace, the gas can enter the HVAC ducts through holes or cracks. When this happens, the air conditioning blower fans can disperse the toxic chemical throughout your home through the vents. Unlike a gas leak, which produces a sulfur odor similar to rotten eggs, there’s no way to know carbon monoxide is present without a detector or until symptoms start.

Heating and Carbon Monoxide 

If you’re talking about the heating system when you ask, “Can an HVAC system cause carbon monoxide poisoning?” then the answer is yes. Any appliance or heating equipment that burns fossil fuels creates a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, including:

  • Furnaces
  • Water heaters
  • Boilers
  • Fireplaces 
  • Space or room heaters

These devices send carbon monoxide outside via vents and chimneys, where it dissipates into the atmosphere without causing ill effects. If anything blocks these exit points or otherwise prevents the exhaust from escaping outdoors, carbon monoxide will accumulate indoors.

Some of the most common problems that cause a buildup include:

  • A cracked heat exchanger in the furnace 
  • Obstructed chimneys or vents
  • Poor ventilation pipe installation

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

The best way to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning is with carbon monoxide detectors. Even when you aren’t using the furnace, a working carbon monoxide detector will sound the alarm if the air conditioning is dispersing the gas from an outside source through your home. Replace the batteries in the carbon monoxide detectors twice a year at the same time as the smoke detector batteries. 

Other ways to keep carbon monoxide out of your home include the following.

Scheduling Regular Maintenance 

Don’t skip the annual maintenance of your HVAC equipment. Having a professional technician inspect heating and air conditioning equipment, clean and adjust critical mechanical components, and check the condition of ducts and vents improves its performance and identifies potential trouble spots before they create a dangerous situation. 

Avoid Using Certain Appliances Indoors 

Only use fossil-fuel-powered appliances like generators or barbecue grills outdoors. If you have an attached garage, never run vehicles (including motorcycles) inside it without first opening the garage door to keep toxic gasses out of the home. 

Know the Signs of Trouble

Being aware of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can prevent a tragedy if the detector malfunctions or fails. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, open as many windows as possible, go outside, and call 911. Affected individuals need medical attention to reduce the risk of long-term effects.

Some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Memory Loss 
  • Chest Pains
  • Shortness of Breath

Some people pass out when exposed to carbon monoxide, so getting to fresh air as quickly as possible is critical.

Keep Your Family Safe With HVAC Maintenance from Green Energy Mechanical, Inc.

Maintaining your HVAC equipment and scheduling repairs at the first sign of a problem is the best way to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and keep your family safe. Green Energy Mechanical, Inc. is standing by to help you maintain energy-efficient HVAC that keeps your home comfortable without sky-high utility bills.

Our crew is also your local source for answers to all your most important questions, like “Can an HVAC system cause carbon monoxide?” and provide tips on how to get the most from your heating and cooling systems without putting too much strain on them or creating a dangerous situation. We are here to help when you need us most, with a 24/7 answering service. 

If you live in the Canton, MA, area and worry about the safety of your existing HVAC system, call Green Energy Mechanical, Inc. at (781) 236-3421

Author Bio:

Jonathan Neves

Worked in the HVAC industry since he was 17. He started as an HVAC service technician for commercial buildings and eventually came into the residential market because of his love of working with people. He believes that what really sets Green Energy Mechanical apart is how long they stand behind their work and how compassionate his employees are for their clients.


My furnace was not working this morning. I called Green Energy and within a few hours Terry was here and quickly took care of the problem. Terry has been here before and is very professional and friendly.
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Very professional operation. Great technicians. Follow COVID protocol. Leave your house and property very clear with no trace that work had been done.
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Quinn was really nice, professional, and answered all my questions in a clear and easy manner. The woman I spoke with on the phone was also very kind, so I will definitely use this company again.
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Green Energy Mechanical is a pleasure to work. We had both air conditioning and heating installed. During both jobs, GEM was thorough and professional from start to finish.
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I could not be more pleased with the service provided. We have upgraded our water heater to a tank less. We are also getting our heat and ac installed by them. They care for your home like you would
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