Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuels including oil and natural gas to provide heat for your home. As a byproduct of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can result in all kinds of health and breathing problems. Luckily, furnaces are manufactured with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely out of your house. But if a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are broken, CO might leak into the house.

While quality furnace repair in Alliance can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also important to learn the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also set up carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways close by these rooms. We'll share more information about carbon monoxide so you can take steps to keep you and your family breathing easy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas consisting of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a flammable fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is produced. It normally scatters over time since CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide could reach elevated concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's regarded as a hazardous gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels may rise without somebody noticing. This is why it's crucial to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is perfect for identifying the presence of CO and notifying you with the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any type of fuel is combusted. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly common due to its prevalence and affordable price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, most of your home's other appliances that require these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, including:

  • Water heaters
  • Stoves
  • Ovens
  • Fireplaces
  • Wood stoves
  • Hot tubs
  • and more

As we stated above, the carbon monoxide a furnace generates is usually vented safely outside of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning since they have sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's ability to move oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to absorb it. A shortage of oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're in contact with dangerous quantities of CO over a long period of time, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

At even more potent levels, the complications of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In heavy enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (particularly the less severe ones) are frequently mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members struggling with symptoms at the same time, it could be evidence that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you suspect you are struggling with CO poisoning, exit the house immediately and contact 911. Medical experts can make sure your symptoms are treated. Then, get in touch with a trained technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will determine where the gas is leaking.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

After a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and fix the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take a bit of time to find the right spot. Your technician can look for soot or smoke stains and other evidence of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can work on to minimize CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is appropriately vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or someplace else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that emit carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run constantly, wasting energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal indoors. Not only could it create a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Avoid using fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Alliance. A broken down or defective furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms recognize CO gas much sooner than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's important to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, including the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping adequate time to exit the home. It's also a great idea to install carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. Finally, very large homes should consider additional CO detectors for uniform coverage of the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the previously mentioned guidelines, you'd want to put in three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

  • One alarm could be installed near the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm should be set up near the kitchen.
  • While the third and fourth alarms could be installed near or inside bedrooms.

Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than fixing the leak once it’s been found. One of the best ways to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Alliance to certified professionals like Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces. They understand how to install your desired make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.