Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuels such as oil and natural gas to generate 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 sorts of health and breathing problems. Luckily, furnaces are manufactured with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely away from your home. But when a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are loose, CO might leak out into the house.

While quality furnace repair in Eastland can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also important to recognize the warning signs of CO poisoning. You should also set up carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll share more info 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 made up of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is produced. It generally dissipates over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide could reach more potent concentrations. What's more, one of the reasons it's considered a dangerous gas is because it has no color, odor or taste. Levels could climb without anyone noticing. This is why it's vital to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is ideal for identifying faint traces of CO and notifying everyone in the house via the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any kind of fuel is burnt. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace because of its wide availability and inexpensive price, making it a consistent source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, many of your home's other appliances that require these fuels can emit carbon monoxide, like:

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

As we mentioned earlier, the carbon monoxide a furnace generates is normally released safely outside of your home through the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning because they have proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to induce poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

When carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can attach to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This blocks oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's ability to transport oxygen through 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 impacts every part of the body. If you're in contact with harmful 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 steeper levels, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more detrimental. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms can include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (namely the less dangerous symptoms) are easily mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have different family members struggling with symptoms concurrently, it might be a sign that there's CO gas in your home. If you suspect you have CO poisoning, exit the house straight away and call 911. Medical professionals can make sure your symptoms are controlled. Then, call a certified technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They should find where the gas is coming from.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has identified carbon monoxide in your house, they'll identify the source and seal the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take a bit of time to find the correct spot. Your technician will look for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here are some things you can manage to minimize CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is properly vented and that there are no obstructions in the flue pipe or anywhere else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when using appliances that emit carbon monoxide, such as fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to maximize ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running night and day, wasting energy and adding heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal indoors. Not only will it make 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, ensure the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to exit the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Eastland. A damaged or faulty furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, install carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms recognize CO gas much faster than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Will I Need?

It's crucial to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, not to mention the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces further from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping enough time to evacuate safely. It's also a good idea to put in carbon monoxide alarms around sources of CO gas, including your kitchen stove or your water heater. Lastly, particularly large homes should look at extra CO detectors for uniform coverage of the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, including the basement. With the above suggestions, you'll want to have three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always better than fixing the leak when it’s been discovered. A great way to avert a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Eastland to certified experts like J & J Air Conditioning. They know how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.