Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuels such as oil and natural gas to create heat for your home. As a result of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is a common and hazardous gas that can result in all kinds of health and breathing complications. Thankfully, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely outside of the house. But in the event a furnace malfunctions or the flue pipes are cracked, CO might leak into your house.

While quality furnace repair in East Bernard can correct carbon monoxide leaks, it's also crucial to learn the warning signs of CO in your house. 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 the appropriate steps to keep you and your family safe.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas consisting of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a fuel such as wood, coal or natural gas ignites, carbon monoxide is released. It normally dissipates over time as CO gas is lighter than air. But when your home or furnace doesn’t have adequate ventilation, carbon monoxide may reach more potent concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's viewed as a harmful gas is because it lacks color, odor or taste. Levels could rise without anybody noticing. This is why it's crucial to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is ideal for 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 created when any kind of fuel is burned. This encompasses natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is particularly commonplace as a result of its availability and inexpensive 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, including:

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

As we mentioned above, the carbon monoxide a furnace creates is usually released safely away from your home with the flue pipe. In fact, most homes won't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fact that they offer sufficient 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?

After carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This prevents oxygen from binding to the blood cells, interrupting 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 use it. Insufficient oxygen impacts every part of the body. If you're exposed to dangerous quantities of CO over a long period of time, you could experience a number of symptoms:

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

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

These symptoms (particularly the less serious ones) are frequently mistaken for the flu because they're so generalized. But if you have different family members struggling with symptoms simultaneously, it may be a sign that there's a CO gas leak in your home. If you think you are suffering from CO poisoning, get out of the house straight away and contact 911. Medical providers can ensure your symptoms are treated. Then, get in touch with a certified technician to examine your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can uncover where the gas is escaping.

How to Remove Carbon Monoxide

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

  1. See to it that your furnace is correctly vented and that there aren't any clogs in the flue pipe or anywhere else that could trap carbon monoxide gas in your home.
  2. Keep doors open between rooms when you use appliances that emit carbon monoxide, like 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, squandering energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Never burn charcoal indoors. Not only will it leave a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
  5. Don't use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in compact spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, verify that the flue is open when in use to allow carbon monoxide to leave the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in East Bernard. A broken down or malfunctioning furnace is a likely source of carbon monoxide problems.
  8. Most important, install carbon monoxide detectors. These helpful alarms notice CO gas much faster than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's important to set up at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, including the basement. Focus on bedrooms and other spaces further away from the exits. This gives people who were sleeping plenty of time to exit the home. It's also a good idea to set up carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or the water heater. Lastly, especially large homes should think about installing even more CO detectors for equal protection for the entire house.

Suppose a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the above recommendations, you'd want to put in three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Lowers the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Avoiding a carbon monoxide leak is always better than repairing the leak once it’s been discovered. One of the best ways to prevent a CO gas leak in your furnace is by passing on furnace installation in East Bernard to licensed specialists like E.B. Air, LLC. They recognize how to install your ideal make and model to ensure optimal efficiency and minimal risk.