Service call a lifesaver

Woman's furnace had gaping hole in heat exchanger

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POST FALLS - A service call to repair a failed heater may have saved a woman's life.

John Hoffman with RDI Heating and Cooling in Coeur d'Alene said a breach was discovered in the heat exchange of the furnace, that led it to emit dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

"It's like having an exhaust pipe that's cracked," he said.

The woman, who said Monday she was recovering from the incident and declined to comment, was admitted to the hospital for two days last week after complaining of feeling light-headed, dizzy and nauseous.

The symptoms went away, so she was released Thursday to return home, where she found the furnace had stopped working. She called RDI.

Hoffman said it was then that a "gaping hole" was discovered in the heat exchanger. The furnace was not safe to use, he said.

If the furnace hadn't quit working, Hoffman said the woman could have suffered more health problems.

"People die from CO poisoning," he said.

Hoffman spent some time with the woman Friday, when RDI installed a new furnace. There were emotional moments.

"We sat down and cried and laughed," he said.

Hoffman said homeowners should have their furnaces checked to be sure they are operating correctly.

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