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 side effect of this process, carbon monoxide is created. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can result in a lot of health and breathing complications. Thankfully, furnaces are built with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely outside of the house. But when a furnace breaks down or the flue pipes are cracked, CO might leak into your house.

While high quality furnace repair in Paxinos can resolve carbon monoxide leaks, it's also important to recognize the warning signs of CO in your house. 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 make a plan to keep you and your family healthy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas composed of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas burns, carbon monoxide is created. It normally scatters over time as CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have enough ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach elevated concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a dangerous gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels could rise without anyone noticing. This is the reason why it's important to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is capable of identifying faint traces of CO and alerting everyone in the house using the alarm system.

What Emits Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is produced when any kind of fuel is ignited. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially popular as a result of its wide availability and low price, making it a consistent source of household CO emissions. Besides your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that utilize these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

As we stated before, the carbon monoxide the furnace produces is normally released safely away from your home with the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems because they offer proper ventilation. It's only when CO gas is trapped in your home that it reaches concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is in your lungs, it can bind to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's capability to carry oxygen throughout the bloodstream. So even if there's plenty of oxygen in a room, your body wouldn't be able to utilize it. Lack of oxygen harms every part of the body. If you're exposed to harmful amounts of CO over a long period of time, you can experience a variety of symptoms:

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

At even steeper levels, the complications of carbon monoxide poisoning are even more severe. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and unconsciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less serious symptoms) are often mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have different family members suffering from symptoms simultaneously, it can be a sign that there's CO gas in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house straight away and call 911. Medical providers can make sure your symptoms are controlled. Then, get in touch with a professional technician to check your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can identify where the gas is leaking.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has confirmed there's carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and seal the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it may take some time to locate the right spot. Your technician can look for soot or smoke stains and other signs of carbon monoxide. In the meantime, here's what you can manage to limit CO levels in your home:

  1. See to it that your furnace is correctly vented and that there aren't any obstructions in the flue pipe or anywhere else that can trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that create carbon monoxide, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to improve ventilation.
  3. Avoid using a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run constantly, wasting energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Do not burn charcoal inside. Not only could it create a mess, but it will also emit carbon monoxide.
  5. Avoid using fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you use a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Keep up with routine furnace maintenance in Paxinos. A damaged or defective furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most importantly, set up carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms notice CO gas much faster than humans will.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's crucial to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, not to mention the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This offers people who were sleeping enough time to evacuate safely. It's also a great idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms close to sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or a water heater. Finally, particularly large homes should consider extra CO detectors for consistent distribution throughout the entire house.

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

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

Professional Installation Diminishes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always more effective than fixing the leak once it’s been found. An easy way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Paxinos to licensed specialists like LTS Plumbing & Heating Inc.. They understand how to install your chosen make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.