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 created. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can result in a lot of health and breathing issues. Luckily, furnaces are built with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely out of the house. But when a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are loose, CO could get into the house.

While high quality furnace repair in Alice can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to learn the warning signs of CO in your home's air. You should also set up carbon monoxide detectors inside bedrooms, kitchens and hallways nearby these rooms. We'll review more facts about carbon monoxide so you can take steps to keep you and your family safe.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas comprised of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a fuel like wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is produced. It usually breaks up over time because CO gas weighs less than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have sufficient ventilation, carbon monoxide can reach higher concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's considered a hazardous gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels could rise without someone noticing. That's why it's vital to put in a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is perfect for recognizing evidence of CO and notifying everyone in the house using the alarm system.

What Produces Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is released when any kind of fuel is burned. This may include natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly common due to its availability and affordable price, making it a frequent source of household CO emissions. Apart from your furnace, lots of your home's other appliances that require these fuels will emit carbon monoxide, including:

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

Like we outlined before, the carbon monoxide the furnace produces is normally vented safely outside of your home via the flue pipe. In fact, the majority of homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide problems because they possess adequate ventilation. It's only when CO gas is confined in your home that it grows to concentrations high enough to cause poisoning.

What Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

Once carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, getting in the way of your body's capacity to carry oxygen through the bloodstream. So even if there's adequate 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 in contact with hazardous amounts of CO over a long period of time, you could 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 detrimental. In high enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include things like chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less severe ones) are easily mistaken for the flu due to the fact that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members suffering from symptoms at the same time, it could be evidence that there's CO gas in your home. If you suspect you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house right away and contact 911. Medical experts can see to it that your symptoms are treated. Then, contact a certified technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They will find where the gas is coming from.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

Once a technician has discovered carbon monoxide in your house, they'll pinpoint the source and seal the leak. It could be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it might take a while to uncover the correct spot. Your technician can look for soot or smoke stains and other characteristics 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 are no blockages in the flue pipe or anywhere else that would trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms whenever you use appliances that produce carbon monoxide, including fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would have to run night and day, needlessly consuming energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal inside your home. Not only could it make 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 confined spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Take care of routine furnace maintenance in Alice. A broken down or faulty furnace is a frequent source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most importantly, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These handy alarms recognize CO gas much sooner than humans can.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's important to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, as well as the basement. Prioritize bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping enough time to get out. It's also a great idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or your water heater. Lastly, especially large homes should think about installing additional CO detectors for equal distribution throughout the entire house.

Let's say a home has three floors, including the basement. With the previously mentioned guidelines, you'll want to install three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Minimizes the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always more beneficial than repairing the leak after it’s been found. A great way to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by trusting furnace installation in Alice to trained specialists like Rescue Heating & Air . They know how to install your desired make and model to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal risk.