Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces burn fuel like oil and natural gas to create heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is released. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can lead to all kinds of health and breathing issues. Luckily, furnaces are manufactured with flue pipes that ventilate carbon monoxide safely away from your house. But in the event a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are cracked, CO can leak out into the house.

While high quality furnace repair in Justin can take care of carbon monoxide leaks, it's also important to learn the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also put in carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll share more info about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan to keep you and your family healthy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is created. It generally dissipates over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach elevated concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's considered a harmful gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels can increase without anybody noticing. That's why it's important to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is capable of discerning the presence of CO and notifying everyone in the house using the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced when any type of fuel is burnt. This means natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially commonplace as a result of its availability and low price, making it a consistent source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that require these fuels may emit carbon monoxide, like:

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

As we stated before, the carbon monoxide the furnace creates is usually vented safely away from your home via the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems because they have proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is contained in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Does Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's ability to move oxygen in the bloodstream. So even if there's enough oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to use it. Lack of oxygen affects every part of the body. If you're exposed to harmful levels of CO over a long period of time, you could experience a variety of symptoms:

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

At even steeper levels, the potential health problems of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more serious. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of becoming fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less severe symptoms) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members struggling with symptoms simultaneously, it might be indicative that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you suspect you are suffering from CO poisoning, get out of the house straight away and call 911. Medical experts can make sure your symptoms are managed. Then, get in touch with a certified technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should uncover where the gas is coming from.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and fix the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a bit of time to find the exact spot. Your technician will be looking for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can do to minimize CO levels in your home:

  1. Verify that your furnace is adequately vented and that there are no obstructions in the flue pipe or somewhere else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that create 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 adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside your home. Not only will it leave a mess, but it can produce more carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to enable carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Justin. A broken down or faulty furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide emissions.
  8. Most important, install carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms notice CO gas much faster than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's vital to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping sufficient time to get out. It's also a smart idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. And finally, particularly large homes should look at extra CO detectors for consistent distribution throughout the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the previously mentioned suggestions, you should install three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always better than resolving the leak after it’s been discovered. One of the best ways to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Justin to qualified experts like Pepper AC & Htg Inc. They understand how to install your preferred make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.