Our Pros Answer Your Questions About Carbon Monoxide

July 05, 2022

Furnaces combust fuels including oil and natural gas to produce heat for your home. As a byproduct of this process, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is flammable and hazardous gas that can result in a lot of health and breathing problems. Luckily, furnaces are designed with flue pipes that release carbon monoxide safely outside of the house. But if a furnace breaks or the flue pipes are broken, CO might leak out into your home.

While quality furnace repair in Booneville can fix 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 close by these rooms. We'll share more info about carbon monoxide so you can make a plan to keep you and your family breathing easy.

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas composed of one carbon molecule and one oxygen molecule. When a fuel like wood, coal or natural gas combusts, carbon monoxide is produced. 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 could reach higher concentrations. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons it's regarded as a hazardous gas is because it doesn't have a color, odor or taste. Levels can rise without anybody noticing. That's why it's important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A CO detector is perfect for discerning the presence of CO and notifying everyone in the house using the alarm system.

What Creates Carbon Monoxide in a House?

Carbon monoxide is created when any type of fuel is burned. This encompasses natural gas, propane, oil, wood and coal. Natural gas is especially common as a result of its wide availability and affordable price, making it a regular source of household CO emissions. Aside from your furnace, lots 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 stated before, the carbon monoxide the furnace creates is normally vented safely away from your home with the flue pipe. In fact, nearly all homes don't need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fact that 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 Will Carbon Monoxide Do to the Body?

After carbon monoxide gas is breathed in, it can adhere to the hemoglobin in your blood cells. This blocks oxygen from binding to the blood cells, disrupting your body's ability to move 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 affects every part of the body. If you're subjected to harmful quantities of CO over a long period of time, you might 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 detrimental. In large enough concentrations, it's capable of being fatal. Symptoms include chest pain, confusion, agitation, seizures and loss of consciousness.

These symptoms (especially the less dangerous ones) are frequently mistaken for the flu given that they're so generalized. But if you have multiple family members suffering from symptoms at the same time, it might be evidence that there's carbon monoxide in your home. If you believe you are suffering from CO poisoning, exit the house immediately and contact 911. Medical providers can ensure your symptoms are treated. Then, get in touch with a professional technician to inspect your furnace and HVAC ventilation system. They can identify where the gas is leaking.

How to Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide

When a technician has found carbon monoxide in your house, they'll find the source and seal off the leak. It may be any of your fuel-burning appliances, so it can take a bit of time to uncover 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 manage to reduce CO levels in your home:

  1. Make sure your furnace is correctly vented and that there are no clogs 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, like fireplaces, stoves or ovens, to increase ventilation.
  3. Try not to use a gas stove or oven to heat your home. These appliances would be running constantly, needlessly consuming energy and placing heavy strain on them.
  4. Don't burn charcoal indoors. Not only will it make a mess, but it's also a source of carbon monoxide.
  5. Try not to use fuel-powered generators, pressure washers or other gas-powered tools in enclosed spaces.
  6. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, ensure the flue is open when in use to permit carbon monoxide to vent out of the house.
  7. Stay on top of routine furnace maintenance in Booneville. A damaged or malfunctioning furnace is a common source of carbon monoxide leaks.
  8. Most important, put in carbon monoxide detectors. These useful alarms detect CO gas much sooner than humans do.

How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Should I Install?

It's vital to install at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, not to mention the basement. Concentrate on bedrooms and other spaces farther from the exits. This provides people who were sleeping sufficient time to exit the home. It's also a great idea to install carbon monoxide alarms near sources of CO gas, such as your kitchen stove or a water heater. Lastly, very large homes should consider additional CO detectors for equal protection for the entire house.

Let's pretend a home has three floors, as well as the basement. With the above recommendations, you should put in three to four carbon monoxide sensors.

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

Professional Installation Reduces the Risk of Carbon Monoxide

Protecting against a carbon monoxide leak is always better than fixing the leak when it’s been located. An easy way to avoid a CO gas leak in your furnace is by leaving furnace installation in Booneville to licensed experts like Booneville Heating & Cooling LLC. They recognize how to install your desired make and model to ensure optimum efficiency and minimal risk.