Carbon Monoxide or Gas Leak? What is the Difference?

We are receiving more and more calls from customers who originally called one of our competitors and received the grave news that either their furnace had a “CO (carbon monoxide) leak” or a “gas leak”. A terrified customer is then pressured into making an immediate decision to replace the whole system, at exorbitant prices. These calls upset us for two reasons:

  1. A CO leak and a gas leak or two totally different, yet incredibly dangerous things.
  2. Our competitors are using fear to sell homeowners things they may not need.

That’s not how we do business at Owens Companies, so we want you to be educated on the difference between the two in case you find yourself in this situation.

How do I know if I have a carbon monoxide leak?

Carbon Monoxide is found in the fumes of burned fuel and can be emitted from fireplaces, gas stoves, furnaces, hot water heaters, small engines or cars. If left undetected, carbon monoxide can build up indoors and cause headaches, muscle weakness, flu-like symptoms and even lead to death.

According to Minnesota statute 299F.50, all homes and apartments are required to have functioning CO detectors within ten feet of all sleeping spaces. If there is a CO leak in the house and the carbon monoxide detector is functioning, the leak should be detected. Owens Companies technicians also complete a diagnostic test during every yearly tune up.

For more about CO and detection, see our website.

How do I know if I have a gas leak?

Natural gas has a very pungent odor – like rotten eggs or garlic. If there is a slight smell of gas, open your windows and make sure your pilot lights are off. Call your utility company and follow their directions. If the smell is strong, leave the property immediately without turning on or off lights, appliances or even using the phone. Go to a safe distance and dial 911 for further instructions.

At Owens Companies, our techs are not paid on commission and therefore are there to ensure that the job is done right, fairly and on time without any high-pressured sales tactics. If you have been told that you “either have a CO leak or a gas leak” by our competitors and then quoted a hefty price, run and call us immediately for a second opinion.