Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

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

While high quality furnace repair in Thedford can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also critical to recognize the warning signs of CO in your house. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways near these rooms. We'll offer up more info about carbon monoxide so you can take steps to keep you and your family healthy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas consisting of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When something such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is released. It usually scatters over time since CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach higher concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a harmful gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels can increase without anyone noticing. This is the reason why it's crucial to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is perfect for recognizing evidence of CO and alerting you with the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any type of fuel is burnt. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace as a result of its wide availability and affordable price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that require these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, like:

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

As we outlined earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace creates is ordinarily vented safely out of your home with the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide accumulation because they offer sufficient ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This blocks oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting your body's capability to transport oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's sufficient oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. A shortage of oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're in contact with dangerous levels of CO over a long period of time, you may experience a variety of symptoms:

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

At even more potent levels, the potential health problems of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less dangerous signs) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have several family members experiencing symptoms at the same time, it might be a sign that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you think you have CO poisoning, leave the house straight away and contact 911. Medical providers can make sure your symptoms are controlled. Then, get in touch with a certified technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will find where the gas is escaping.

How to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has found carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and seal the leak. It might be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it might take a bit of time to find the exact spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other signs of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can work on to limit CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is properly vented and that there aren't any blockages in the flue pipe or somewhere else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when using appliances that produce carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running constantly, wasting energy and putting heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal indoors. Not only will it leave a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Avoid using fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in confined spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Thedford. A damaged or faulty furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most important, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms detect CO gas much quicker than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

It's vital to put in at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping plenty of time to exit the home. It's also a good idea to install carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or the water heater. Finally, particularly large homes should think about installing additional CO detectors for consistent protection for the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, along with the basement. With the above guidelines, you'll want to set up three to four carbon monoxide detectors.

  • One alarm should be installed close to the furnace and/or water heater.
  • The second alarm could be put in near the kitchen.
  • While the third and fourth alarms can be installed near or within bedrooms.

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than fixing the leak once it’s been found. A great way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Thedford to qualified experts like Taylor's Heating & Air Conditioning. They know how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.